In offing: Bill to turn Palampur council into corporation
Himachal Pradesh government is all set to introduce a bill during the winter session of Vidhan Sabha to turn the municipal council of quaint Palampur town into a corporation.
After Dharamshala, Palampur is the biggest town in Kangra district. It is 27km from main Kangra town and his surrounded by the mighty Dhauladhar mountains.
Both the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the opposition Congress had for long been demanding to upgrade Palampur subdivision into a district.
The move first gained momentum during the tenure of former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal. At that time, both the Congress and the BJP had sought district status for Palampur, Nurpur and Dehra, but the plan got shelved.
Palampur town, which has derived its name from word ‘palum’ (abundance of water), is famous for its tea production.
There are several streams that flow in and around Palampur town, which came into existence after superintendent of botanical gardens Dr Jameson introduced tea bushes to Palampur.
It was in 2009 that for the first time locals in Palampur demanded the government to upgrade the municipal council to a full-fledged corporation.
However, the issue was put on a back-burner for past one decade. Former chief minister Shanta Kumar, who hails from Palampur, was keen that the hill town should be upgraded.
The urban development department in Shimla has sought details of Palampur town from the civil administration in Kangra district.
The local administration in Kangra has drawn a proposal to include 27 more villages adjoining Palampur into the proposed municipal corporation limits.
According to norms, a municipal corporation area should fulfil the criteria of 50,000 population (Palampur has 30,000) and the areas under the civic body should have minimum annual income of more than ₹2 crore.
The local administration has drawn proposal to include Banuri, Holta, Parla, Tanda, Maranda, Bagh, Aparla, Kasuati, Van Vihar, Rauri, Khalte, Chaowki, Chib Vihar, Bandla, Kholi, Lohana, Nihang, Ghuggar Tanda, Khilru, Bindravan, Diffar Patt, Aima, Sungar, Bandla tea estate, Haar and Palampur villages in the municipal corporation.
“The bill to the turn the Palampur council into municipal corporation will be brought in the assembly during the winter session,” said urban development secretary C Palrasu.
The government had also forwarded the proposal to upgrade Solan council into a municipal corporation, but the urban development department turned it down saying that it did not fulfil the criteria.
Currently, only two HP cities have municipal corporations — Shimla and Dharamshala.