On the eve of new year, a letter to the residents of Shimla!

 

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Dear friends ,

At the outset we wish you a liveable and habitable Shimla. We also wish a fruitful new year of 2017. We are writing this letter to you  as one amongst you, who some  4.5 years ago were given the responsibility to serve this Shimla town. We have tried to work in that direction where we all wish and want to make this city more liveable, better, cleaner and above all able to sustain its growth. To review our work ourselves would not be justifiable, hence we want you to do that and be as critical as you can so that we are able to improve and work with greater vigour and strength. Also that we ourselves are not satisfied with what we wanted to achieve and what we have been able to . Nevertheless, we want you to comment on all that. Despite the objective situation prevailing, of our extreme minority (we are just 12% in house, still we have tried to carry everyone in the MC together), not very supportive government in fact we would term a hostile government, we are trying to deliver at such an adversity. We have seen how they have fudged the data to throw Shimla out of the smart city race. Despite that we all fought back and eventually got Shimla in the smart city category. On top of that the limitation of resources that limit our efficient functioning is not a hidden fact from you.

 

We do not intend to boast but this is somewhat little we have been able to do with limited capacity and given the above objective reality.

 

  1. First year happened to be to meet the water crisis. We tried to manage it and without privatizing water, we have been able to supply water without hiring tankers. There was then this problem of water borne diseases being spread especially in Ashwani khad catchment area. The water was lifted by IPH and distributed by MC Shimla. We have stopped lifting water from there. Now the water supplied is A+ quality and the focus now apart from providing potable water would be adequate quantity.

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In this direction a historic role has been played where complete integration of water supply, treatment, distribution and sewerage network and treatment has been done with the formation of Greater Water Supply and Sewerage Circle Shimla . It is a major leap that will help the city in times to come.

 

To make this system functional over Rs 100 crore is being spent to overhaul pumps, replace pipelines, augment supply and to make the STPs functional.

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  1. On social infrastructure we have tried to focus on roads and nearly 80% of the roads have been metalled. The rest too will be done; as you know we get just 2 months time during summers to do this job. The beautification plan of the mall road is in full swing and you can witness the change happening. Similarly on mobility we have signed an agreement with Usha-Breco and you will in a period of 2.5 years see the cable cars rolling in the city. Wi-Fi hot spots, change in the street lighting system is taking place. Battery operated vehicles were to run by now but because of the hostile state government we had to take the matter in the High Court.

 

  1. On solid waste and sanitation we can claim to be one amongst the best in the country. When we joined we were collecting 35 tonnes of waste which now touches 80 tonnes. Similarly the door to door waste collection has reached 85 to 90 percent from 70%. Above all it is a sustainable model where large scale rag pickers and others in the informal sector have been formalised under the SEHB society with a continuous increase in their wages. Of course you as a resident make it sustainable by paying regularly. We intend to improve further with your suggestions and co-operation. The waste treatment plant is being changed completely and a new state of art technology is being introduced by complete incineration and waste to energy. We will be able to get 2MW of energy.

 

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We know toilets in the city still create problems for us. All these toilets were earlier managed and run by SULABH. We have initiated a move for complete refurbishment of these toilets with an addition of new E toilets in the city. More that Rs. 2 crores is being spent to refurbish these toilets.

 

  1. The beautification plan for Shimla city is being implemented in Shimla core area. Mall and Ridge has been metalled. Further the road from Regal to Sanjauli and CTO to IIAS will be tarred with proper landscaping and drains. Lamp posts are changed, new signage’s are being created, fountains will be made on the Mall and the parks including ladies park, Park opposite Town Hall, Daulat Singh Park will bear a new look where the residents can enjoy the social infrastructure.

 

  1. The MC despite the constraints has tried to bring in the Municipal finances on track. There is a complete overturn by the successive state governments who have reduced the budgetary help for the city. From 45% of the expenditure the budgetary allocation has reduced to near 20% of the expenditure. The municipal finances were generated and many pilferages were checked. It is because of this reason that an unprecedented amount could be spent on developmental activities. Just to have a glimpse the total amount spent in different wards for 2 main departments is as:-

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To make the city liveable for everyone especially for the poor we have constructed 100 houses in Dhalli and 300 more are being constructed in Krishna Nagar ward. “Water for All” is our slogan and you know because of our bye laws we were unable to provide metered water. We have amended and now we should be able to provide metered water to each household. We have started working for adequate and best quality potable water and good sewerage utility to the people of Shimla.

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There is a lot more that we could have written to you, perhaps later we shall write more once we have the feedback from you all and for now this letter as a greeting for the year 2017 we are stopping here for your perusal, assessment, feedback as critical you can be, for the betterment of human lives in this ‘beautiful’, ‘smart’ na ‘dream city’ called Shimla.

 

Tikender Singh Panwar                                                    Sanjay Chauhan

Deputy Mayor Shimla                                                                  Mayor Shimla

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