Petition questions Himachal’s ability to execute mission city projects

Shimla: Ambitious plans of constructing several road tunnels in the city have remained tall claims for the one small tunnel under construction is delayed by more than 3 years even though it is funded by the central government under mission city program.

Unable to bear the slow pace of work on the Auckland House tunnel, Tirlok Chauhan, a lawyer has petitioned the High Court alleging that the state government and its agencies lack coordination while implementing projects identified under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM).

A division bench constituting of Chief Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice Sanjay Karol, on Tuesday, served a four week notice on the state and central government on the issue of non-implementation of plans under JNNURM in Shimla town.

The bench has asked chief secretary Himachal, commissioner Shimla Municipal Corporation and others to respond by May 30.

In the petition, Chauhan points out that central government had sanctioned Rs 3900 crore for Shimla town in 2006. While the projects were to be executed by state agencies, the government had miserably failed to utilize the amount sanctioned by the central government and it was likely that the amount may have lapsed.

Detailed project reports prepared by different departments were gather dusts, says the petitioner and virtually no project as planned has translated into action.

Citing the example of Auckland House tunnel that is barely 150 meters long and would reduce the city road distance by less than a kilometer; the petition states that the project has been delayed by more than 3 years and is yet to be completed.

Non completion of the project has caused great inconvenience to general public as virtually no path is available for pedestrians in that area, says Chauhan.

As Editor, Ravinder Makhaik has nurtured Hill Post for over a decade. A chequered path had him drift from managing family owned apple orchards, to turning a documentary filmmaker, to a journalist - with India’s leading television networks and newspapers, to boot strapping in founding Start-Ups. He lives in Shimla.

2 Comments

  • Thanks to people like Mr Tirlok Chahuan……….keeping Government Departments under check……….

  • Shimla qualified for inclusion in the National Urban Renewal Mission not by virtue of its population but because of it being a State capital. Initially, the State government drew up massive plans running into close to Rs. 4000 crore without understanding and realising that the resource allocations were going to be guided by the population size. That much of resources could not be and have not been sanctioned by the Central Government. The mission implementation in Shimla suffered from lack of coordination between the State Government and the local government (municipal corporation). The mid term appraisal of the Eleventh Plan got conducted by the Planning Commission in 2010 had also pointed out to the tardy progress and no correctives appear to have been applied.
    The comprehensive city development plan for Shimla has been under evolution and is yet to be finalized. The three components of the Mission which will get implemented in Himachal Pradesh are (1) Urban infrastructure and governance, (2) Basic services to the urban poor and (3) Integrated housing and slum development programme in the other towns of the State. The respective project costs are of the order of Rs.101.53 crore, Rs.24.00 crore and Rs.55.34 crore for these components. The releases against these estimated costs are Rs.27.47 crore, Rs.5.81 crore and Rs.24.94 crore, respectively. The pace of implementation has yet to pick-up and therefore, the progress under the physical content is negligible.
    Under the urban infrastructure and governance component, the activities included are widening and lowering of an existing tunnel near Auckland House School, setting-up of solid waste management, improvement of the town, purchase of buses for local transport and rehabilitation of the distribution system for urban water supply in the town. The expenditure reported up to September, 2009 against a release of Rs.27.47 crore for these activities was only Rs.2.66 crore. Under the basic services to the poor, the project involves construction of 636 flats under two schemes and against a release of Rs.5.81 crore, the expenditure is only Rs.1.22 lakh upto September, 2009. As for the third component of integrated housing and slum development programme, against a release of Rs.24.94 crore for the six towns of Hamirpur, Dharmshala, Solan, Parwanoo, Baddi and Nalagarh, no expenditure has been reported so far.
    It needs to be understood that many activities under the mission are menu driven on reforms on which the State government continues to develop cold feet. Not much is likely to happen and urban scene in Shimla is likely to deteriorate!

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