Himachal HC removes Dharamsala from smart city list

Shimla, Dec 17 (IANS) The Himachal Pradesh High Court on Thursday set aside a central government decision to accord smart city status on Dharamsala in the hill state.

A division bench of Justice Rajeev Sharma and Justice Sureshwar Thakur set aside the notification on the selection of Dharamsala under the Smart City Mission.

The court gave two weeks to the government to review the cities to be included on the basis of required criteria before making fresh recommendations.

In August, union Urban Development Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu announced in Delhi a list of 98 cities nominated under the Smart City Mission.

Of these 98 cities and towns which are to graduate into smart cities, 24 are capital cities, another 24 business and industrial centres, 18 cultural and tourism areas, five port cities and three educational and healthcare centres. Dharamsala was the only town from Himachal included in the list.

After the selection of Dharamsala – the abode of Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama – state Urban Development Minister Sudhir Sharma said state capital Shimla lagged behind due to poor implementation of Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JnNURM) projects.

Shimla Municipal Corporation Mayor Sanjay Chauhan challenged the Centre’s decision, saying it approved the claim of Dharamsala Municipal Council without adopting proper legal procedure.

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