Dated:-24th October, 2016
Dear Sh Virbhadra Singh ji
I am writing to you as a follow up of my recent visit to Quito the national capital of Ecuador for the United Nations (UN) Habitat III conference. The agenda has been duly agreed by the member countries presently and should become a document of implementable paradigm and not just a document of reference. I wish it does not just become a wish list document as well. Hope the Government of India with penchant fervor will take the sustainable development goals (SDGs) ahead which has also the `new urban agenda` as one of the core elements with inclusive development as an ingrained benchmark.
However I am not writing to you for the Habitat III agenda. My purpose of writing to you is different.
It pertains to what I have learnt from Quito which like us is a city of the developing world and a tourist hub. There are many things though, that needs to be dwelled. However here I want to focus on the Heritage status of its old city accorded by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The city (old city) after being recognized as the world heritage site has an altogether different paradigm of development for its heritage strength. Sir it has not just been able to conserve heritage, but has brought altogether a new life of merchandise, business and livelihood to the people in its deserted part. It is this element that I want your intervention for. To initiate efforts to discuss with various stake holders, invest through various agencies and get the `mall Road from the Indian institute of Advanced Studies (IIAS) to Chotta Shimla` as world heritage UNESCO status
Now the point is why am I writing to you. This could have been done at the behest of the Mayor and the Shimla Municipal Corporation. Surely we will take that initiative, but you know how non-integral is the system of governance, which we have inherited and the scope for its effective implementation would be a great challenge with the role of various parastatals in between. Therefore I request you to call a high level meeting of all the stakeholders, consisting of Shimla MC, Public works department, Tourism, Town and country planning department etc. And also the organizations like the Asian Development Bank, World Bank, ARUP etc who are quite keen to invest in such proposals may be called for the meeting.
Sir , I would also in the meanwhile like you to send a representative preferably Mr NK Negi chief architect of HP government to Quito to learn from the experiences and challenges that were faced by the city government so that we are able to roll down in an effective manner.
Hope Sir, as I know you personally too have a great taste for heritage and its conservation, you would steer this proposal through.
Tikender Singh Panwar
Sh Virbhadra Singh
State of Himachal Pradesh