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The Dharamsala Smart City project is likely to be the key issue in the local MC elections. The project is set to be the rallying point for the Congress. The party would claim the credit for bringing it to Dharamsala and accuse the ruling BJP of failing to spent the money available under the project.

Former Congress minister, Sudhir Sharma, under whose stint as minister for town and country planning Smart City project was allotted to Dharamsala, has already attacked the BJP government over the issue. He said that it was during the Congress rule that Rs 223 crores were allotted for the Smart City project. The present government has failed to even spend the money lying with it in the last three years, he said.

BJP leaders, on the other hand, have been claiming that it was the BJP government at the Centre that had allotted the Smart City Dharamsala project to the state. Rakesh Pathania, minister for forests, has claimed that the union government has allotted various projects and in fact most of the development in the city had taken place when BJP governments were in power in the state.

However, the Congress and BJP governments have failed to address the basic problems being faced by Dharamsala Smart City project. Shortage of staff in Dharamsala Smart City project was the biggest bottleneck for its execution. The project was allotted during the stint of the Congress government in power in state in 2015. However, the provision for the staff was not made.

Similarly, the present BJP government has also not posted regular staff in Dharamsala Smart City project. Due to paucity of staff the projects are getting delayed. The only engineer, who was on deputation in Smart City project and was in thick of things under the project, has been shifted out just before the elections for MC were announced.

The present BJP government after coming to power has changed the basic structure of Dharamsala Smart City project which has made decision-making process more cumbersome. Earlier, as per the guidelines of Smart City project the entire board of directors of Dharamsala Smart City project was based in the city. The divisional commissioner of Kangra was the chairman of the project whereas the commissioner of Dharamsala MC was the managing director. All the projects were planned and executed at local level only in the project.

The present BJP government, after coming to power, did away with the old structure. Now the Chief Secretary of the state has been made chairman of Dharamsala Smart City project and all secretaries of respective government departments involved have been made members. The government also passed orders that the tenders above Rs 10 crores should be decided at the ministerial level and not at local level.

The issue of eight villages included in Dharamsala MC after it was upgraded to corporation being kept out of the ambit of Smart City project will also be an election issue and as both parties would play a blame game over it.

Congress charge

  • Former Congress minister Sudhir Sharma — under whose stint as Minister for Town and Country Planning, the Smart City project was allotted to Dharamsala — has already attacked the BJP government over the issue
  • He said it was during the Congress rule that Rs223 crore was allotted for the Smart City project. The present government has failed to even spend the money lying with it in the past three years, he said.
  • The Congress and BJP governments have failed to address the basic problems being faced by Dharamsala Smart City project. A shortage of staff in Dharamsala Smart City project is the biggest bottleneck for its execution.

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Autor(en)/Author(s): Lalit Mohan

Quelle/Source: The Tribune, 23.03.2021

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