Shimla, April 4, 2012: The European Union (EU) has approved a Rs 7-crore city sanitation project for the state capital along with capacity building and awareness in four other municipalities in Himachal Pradesh.
The erstwhile summer capital of the British, a pale shadow of its glorious past, was ranked at the 293rd position in a survey of 450 cities undertaken by the Urban Development Ministry in 2009. The EU project will hopefully help the “Queen of Hills” regain some ground and emerge as a cleaner and better city.
“EU officials intimated us yesterday that our city sanitation project has been approved and after fulfilling some formalities an agreement will be signed,” said MP Sood, Commissioner, Shimla Municipal Corporation.
Sood said under the project four municipal committees would also be covered with respect to capacity building and preparation of detailed project reports for the sanitation plan. The MCs selected for the purpose are Mandi, Dharamsala, Hamirpur and Nahan. Local MC officials had made presentations and held deliberations with EU officials in Delhi and Bangalore to get funding from the EU for Shimla, which is a popular tourist destination the world over.
Interestingly, the project will focus not just on capacity building as far as the sanitation aspect is concerned but will adopt one ward where vocational training will be provided to sanitation workers, ragpickers and their families in some other trade like carpet weaving, doll making or similar works. This will help in gainful employment to people who are at present only engaged in sanitation work.
The EU project will also cover treatment of waste water which will then be used for toilets, gardening and construction work as Shimla is plagued by water shortage, especially during the peak tourist season during the summers.
With only about 75 per cent coverage of the town as far as door-to-door garbage collection scheme is concerned, efforts are on to cover the entire town. “We have prepared a city sanitation plan with German assistance from the GTZ and outsourced 102 public toilets to Sulabh International,” said Sood. Shortly, the MC would acquire 10 mobile bio-toilets so that these, too, could be used as and when required. (Source: Pratibha Chauhan/TNS)