Politicians hijack project programmes
A new trend that is emerging out of Smart City debate shows that politicians are trying to hijack development issues around Smart City mission. Two good examples are in the case of Dehradun and Dharamsala. While Doon politicians are bidding…

A new trend that is emerging out of Smart City debate shows that politicians are trying to hijack development issues around Smart City mission.

Two good examples are in the case of Dehradun and Dharamsala. While Doon politicians are bidding for attention by raising environmental fallouts, in Dharamsala residents are protesting against the opposition to the Smart City status by politicians based in Shimla.

Residents of Dharamsala observed a one-day shutdown to protest against what they called obstructionist policies of politicians in Shimla to scuttle the Smart City ambition of their town.

They are wondering why Shimla leaders are carrying out a sustained campaign against Dharamsala, which has not opposed allotment of development projects to Shimla. “Then why are they opposing Smart City status for Dharamsala,” a resident asked.

Deepak Manocha, former Vice-Chairman of the Dharamsala Municipal Council, said, “The way Shimla-based leaders have acted amounts to opening old wounds.” People of Dharamsala and Kangra district were made to believe that they were from merged areas of Punjab and Shimla-based leaders were biased against them.

In case the Smart City status for Dharamsala was not restored by the state government, they would be forced to launch an agitation.

Congress leader Deepak Nerala said State Urban Development Minister Sudhir Sharma had been targeted by Shimla-based leaders after Dharamsala got selected among top 100 cities to be developed as Smart City.

“It shows that leaders of Shimla are racially biased against Kangra and its people. They cannot tolerate that any other area other than Shimla can also be allotted this project,” he said.

Dharamsala has already been upgraded from a municipal council to corporation after its selection under Smart City scheme.

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