Shimla, May 29, updated on June 24
CPI(M) Leader and Former Deputy Mayor of Shimla, Tikender Singh Panwar, has raised questions mark on the new development plan of Shimla.
He said that the State government has prepared Shimla Development plan to favour the builders and real estate, and it is not suitable for the capital city of Himachal Pradesh. In a letter to Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, the former deputy mayor stated that an Ahmedabad based agency had prepared plan. Fortunately, and for the benefit of the citizens of Shimla and Himachal Pradesh, this plan was found ill-conceived and probably illegal by the National Green Tribunal.
“We, a group of town planners and city makers, have been following the plan’s development since it was made public,” he stated. Adding, “It has been our view that the plan is not suitable for the earstwhile summer capital of India, Shimla. Indeed, we are certain that if such a plan were allowed to be implemented, the entire city would be ruined and become like Gurgaon.” Panwar added that the plan does not understand the mountain topography, architecture, geology or history and culture of Shimla.
He further stated, “It is widely accepted by the global community as well as the United Nations that such large scale interference with the cities of ‘today’ must follow the guidelines issued by the UN to follow the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).”
The proposed Shimla Master Plan, which has been luckily rejected by the Green Tribunal, lacked people’s participation and was more of a top-bottom exercise. It has violated elementary principles of planning the world over like, first, preparing an environmental and physical zonal plan. “The Shimla Development Plan is merely a land-use plan for the benefit of builders with variation in open, green and core areas, that are too decided arbitrarily, without having any scientific, geographical or cultural basis,” stated the letter.
In the correspondence, Tikender stated that it was expected from the Chief Minister to give a new vision to Shimla using personal leadership. He hoped that as a result of the actions of the Green Council, Shimla has got another chance. Adding, Chief Minister Jairam could be instrumental in making an exceptional place for Shimla in India and the only city to follow the UN SDG criteria. Panwar further suggested that the Chief Minister should completely revise the Shimla Development Plan. The former Mayor said that he and other town planners had summoned a team of experts who have built cities and townships even in war-torn regions. “There is a tool that we have created that could be universally applied to the environments of mountain towns.” be added.
The process for a new vision for Shimla could begin with a presentation to the Chief Minister and the urban development department, ” proposed the former deputy Mayor.


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