Citizens’ groups released on Friday the Dehradun Declaration demanding cancellation of the state government’s plan to build the smart city on the tea garden land.
The citizens demanded that the existing city be given a facelift under the central government’s urban renewal programme.
Over a dozen groups have come together as ‘Citizens’ Initiative’ for dissuading the state government from “destructing the city’s heritage tea gardens and highlighting the problems of the existing city.
On Friday, they formally launched the Dehradun Declaration to demand re-development of the randomly urbanizing state capital into an “eco-friendly smart city”.
“We want our tea gardens to be preserved as a biodiversity zone so that the green belt’s water retention and climate influencing contribution could continue unaffected,” said Florence Pandhi, the secretary of the Friends of the Doon Society.
Group coordinator Brig (retd) KG Behl said the citizens deserve a massive uplift of the city’s infrastructure with better roads, water for all, 24-hour electricity, a solid waste management plan and a non-polluting and improved public transport system among other practical and aesthetic improvements.
Hemant Nav Kumar, the president of environmental group U Turn Foundation, said the group would launch widespread online and offline campaigns to reach out to the general public of Dehradun.
“We will engage in grassroots advocacy to connect the general public with our cause (to save Doon’s environment) by preventing destruction of the tea gardens,” Kumar said.
Some of the groups that have come together to form the Citizens’ Initiative include Citizens Action Group, Citizens for Green Doon, among others.