Himachal high court stays diversion of funds meant for urban poor



Shimla (Jun 2): Himachal Pradesh High Court today stayed the diversion of funds meant for Basic Service to Urban Poor project under Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission to any other project for the time being.
While hearing a petition filed before a division bench comprising Chief Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice VK Sharma today, the bench stayed the diversion of found, further seeking government reply of the issue. The court fixed the next date of hearing on June 27, 2011.

The BSUP scheme was meant for construction of dwelling units for the urban poor of Shimla town. The JNNURM was launched on December 31, 2005, as a programme meant to improve the quality of life and infrastructure of cities.
The Rs. 3,900 crore JNNURM scheme was sanctioned for this town by the Union government during the Congress rule, and was not rolled up as per its conditions and funds were diverted to Mandi district by the incumbent state government. The petitioner, Tarlok Chauhan, had alleged tardy progress of the projects under the mission, which, he claimed, was leading to the lapse of budgetary allocation. He has also alleged that HIMUDA had submitted a detailed project report for the construction of 232 dwelling units for urban poor of Shimla town to the Central government in November 2010, however, the urban development department wrote to the Central government in December 2010 for transfer of balance funds of Rs 1302.38 lakhs from BSUP for Shimla town to two projects for Sarkaghat and Sundernagar on the ground that Shimla MC could not locate any piece of land in Shimla town where the said budget could be used.

The issue was raised by the recently-founded Upnagariya Jan Kalayan Samiti to fight against the imposition of property tax on merged areas of the town. The Samiti alleged that the government merged the three Nagar Panchayats – Dhalli, Totu and Kasumpti – into MC Shimla against the will of people so that total population of the town could be projected high to meet the conditions of JNRUM in 2006, but the areas have been deprived of basic amenities citing paucity of funds.

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