Selection of Dharamsala among the 100 smart cities across India has stoked a political controversy with the Left-dominated Shimla municipal body seeking chief minister's intervention alleging unfair selection.
In a written communiqué shot off to chief minister Virbhadra Singh on Tuesday, Shimla Municipal Corporation (SMC) mayor Sanjay Chauhan sought his intervention to advocate selection of Shimla as smart city.
Chauhan said Shimla being a historic and capital city was the most justified city in the state with respect to all parameters listed in Smart City Score Card based on which profiling cum short-listing was being carried out. He said SMC was one of the oldest established urban local bodies (ULBs) in India and even in the state, no other ULB could match the scale and services the city was providing to its population and tourists.
Chauhan pointed out that Shimla not being selected for the project had resulted in a lot of resentment. "There is no match of Dharamsala and Shimla if the competition is made fair and transparent. The fake data presented by Dharamsala was accepted without any independent and fair assessments," he claimed.
"Dharamsala has no details about electronic municipal budget expenditure on its website, whereas the city has given five points against this. Similarly the city has also fudged points with respect to accounts and finance. The town is also not using the double entry accounting software, which was implemented in Shimla in 2007," Chauhan said.
Also the reforms mentioned under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) had only been implemented in Shimla, he said, while adding that Dharamsala had misrepresented information in this regard and given 10 marks against this parameter.
Meanwhile, chief parliamentary secretaries (CPSs) and MLAs have hailed the inclusion of Dharamsala in the Smart City Mission
CPSes Neeraj Bharti and Jagjeevan Pal, MLAs Ajay Mahajan, Manohar Dhiman, Sanjay Rattan, Yadvinder Goma, Pawan Kajal, Kishori Lal and Himachal Forest Development Corporation vice-chairman Kewal Singh Pathania said Dharamsala had been selected under the mission on the basis of competition carried out throughout the state.