Personal Rapid Transit pods to ply in Dharamshala and Shimla: Chief Minister

Shimla/May 9

Himachal’s Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh on Thursday said that the government was mulling alternate mode of transport to decongest heavy traffic in State capital Shimla and Dharamshala. The feasibility report to set up Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) pods in above towns has been prepared. Apart from providing rapid and personal taxi service, it will also become a centre of tourist attraction.
Virbhadra Singh said this while presiding over review meeting of Town and Country Planning, HIMUDA and Urban Development department here today.
He said that PRT was a latest green solution in alternate transportation sector which requires only 2.1 meters track in comparison to 10 meters track required for Mono Rail. He said that automated PODS was a 4-6 seaters battery powered driverless vehicle which runs on elevated guide way. It could be customized and easy to install as most of the structure are pre-fabricated. He said that this modern PRT system was successfully operating in Heathrow Airport in London.
The Chief Minister said that Urban Mobility Transport Authority (UMTA) would be established in Himachal Pradesh to enable alternate modes of urban public transport such as PRT and Rope ways etc. He said that an Act was being framed in this regard as it would help in decongestion of urban areas that were popular tourist destinations and would cater to urban transport needs of cities and towns.
Singh said that Himachal Pradesh Town and Country Planning Act 2013 was being finalized by amalgamating the HP Apartment and Property Regulation Act, 2005 and HP Town and Country Planning Act, 1977. The Himachal Pradesh Regularization of Deviation and Unauthorized Construction Act, 2013 was also being drafted to regularize the deviation and unauthorized constructions in the State for a specific time. Stringent action including criminal punishment would be incorporated to make it more deterrent for future, he added.
Virbhadra Singh said that 300 houses would be constructed at Krishna Nagar in Shimla and Rs. 34 crores had been sanctioned by Government of India (GoI) in February 2013. The first installment of Rs. 9.20 crores had already been released by the Central Government, he added. He said that the performance grant to the tune of Rs. 6.48 cores was released first time by GoI for complying with all the conditions laid down by 13th Finance Commission in end of March this year.
The Chief Minister directed that new schemes should be posed for funding under Centrally Sponsored Schemes like Jawahar Lal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), Urban Infrastructure and Governance (UIG), Basic Services to the Urban Poor (BSUP) etc. He asked to revise the projects which are not feasible or cost over run and revisit the same to the concerned Union Ministry.
Singh said that Himachal Pradesh Housing and Urban Development Authority (HIMUDA) had developed 34 colonies in the State which have 12528 houses and flats. He asked the HIMUDA Officers to speed up the work in all ongoing projects. He said that water and electricity needs of people should be attended prior to starting of construction work. He said that HIMUDA should make its services on-line to facilitate the customers, stake holders and people in general.
Virbhadra Singh also directed the HIMUDA to complete the indoor stadium at Rohru before the end of this calendar year.
Urban Development, Housing and Town & Country Planning Minister Sudhir Sharma said that five new satellite towns would be set up at Shimla, Hamirpur, Dharamshala, Solan and Mandi. He said that as these satellite towns require huge investments which HIMUDA could not invest on its own so the possibilities of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) or Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode basis should be explored through which big firms would come and construct huge colonies in above five towns. He also directed to invite public suggestions for Draft Plan of Shimla Planning Area.