Shimla monorail top priority: Minister

Barely a month in office, Himachal Pradesh's Urban Development Minister Sudhir Sharma is already proposing to build new landmarks in Shimla. On top oh his list is a monorail project – a first of its kind traffic mobility in a mountain state. "Its not just a childhood dream. I propose to follow it up seriously and create a landmark as a young minister," said the three-time MLA and son of veteran Congress leader (late) Pt Sant Ram.

During his first visit to New Delhi after becoming Cabinet Minister, Sharma along with Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh had met Union minister for Urban Development Kamal Nath to seek the ministry's clearance for the proposal. A feasibility study about the project has already been ordered and job has been entrusted to Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) .

"This kind of project has become a necessity for towns like Shimla to decongest traffic and protect its heritage. I know the project will be cost heavy but we will make effort to get the funding done .It will be a big tourist attraction and will manage mobility in Shimla - which is getting overcrowded," Sharma said.

The project envisages construction of 14-km long monorail along the circular road in the first phase and another 11-km stretch in the second phase. The minister proposes to execute the project under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban development Mission (JNNURM).

If the project is cleared, the government can work on similar projects for Dharamshala to connect it with McLeodganj - Tibetan leader Dalai Lama's popular abode and tourists' town.

Ridge escalator

Another proposal by the minister is the installation of an escalator to connect Lakkar Bazaar bus stand with the Ridge. The portion of the Ridge on Lakkar Bazaar side (ice-skating rink) is sinking as a result of a proposal has been floated for a multi-storey commercial complex, which the state Geological wing says will give stability to the sinking.

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