Diaries

Second Capital Status to D’shala!

By Rinni Thakur

March 06, 2017

A town in the vicinity of Dhauladhar ranges of the Himalaya’s Shiwaliks which experiences the chilly winds of the climate the year round has been burning with the hot-windy storms since the present government took reigns of the state in 2012. The recent storm hovering over this hilly town is its status as the ‘Second Capital’ of Himachal Pradesh.

Just after the present government took oath in December 2012, the government machinery started its operation ‘HPCA-hunt’, HPCA-means Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association. Soon the cases were lodged in various fora against the officials of HPCA affairs related to the construction of stadium there. It was nearly nine years after the town had its Stadium there in 2003. The first International Match was played there in 2005.

Nearly one and half year ago, in the third week of September 2015, this town was given the status of Municipal Corporation. Then it became the second city of the state after Shimla to have a ‘Corporation’ as the local-self government.

However, before Dharamshala got the status of a Civic Corporation, Modi government at the Centre had already announced officially to include Dharamshala as a smart city. This had given the real shock waves to Shimla’s Municipal Corporation. There was a series of controversial statements and even the litigation on this issue.

In fact, Dharamshala had many firsts, too.

This town became the Capital of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile in 1960. Then, after Dalai Lama made Dharamshala, rather Mcleodganj of Upper Dharamshala as his spiritual seat, Tibetans started gave Dharamshala the status of the Divine Town. And of course, this town had the first cricket stadium of International Standard. Besides, many more firsts within the state, Dharamshala, like the First State Capital Shimla, which had the status of the ‘Winter Capital’ of British India, had been losing its galore as a clean and environmentally serene hill town.

Now this town after experiencing the winter sojourns of the Chief Ministers.

For the first time in the history of Himachal Pradesh, Vidhan Sabha session was held outside the State Capital, Shimla at Dharamsala in Prayas Bhawan from December 26 to 29, 2005. The new building of the legislative assembly was completed in 2006. However, after this move by the then congress government the ruling party still lost the assembly elections in 2007.

Now, on 19 January Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh declared Dharamshala as the winter capital of Himachal Pradesh state, making Himachal Pradesh the second state of India having two capitals after Jammu & Kashmir.

This was merely a declaration then. Now, after winter sojourn, the Chief Minister asked the government machinery to prepare details of ‘Second Capital’ to be ratified by the government. At last, on March 2, the state cabinet approved the proposal to set-up second capital at Dharamshala.

The detailed decision of the cabinet was not officially released to the press because of the ongoing Vidhan Sabha session, regarding the actual set-up of the ‘Second Capital’ there. But according to reliable sources, the Secretariat to fun ction there at

Dharamshala will be under the Department of General Administration (GAD). Till now, the entire winter sojourn was handled by the district administration. Hope so that the details of the ‘Second Capital’ will be available to the general public during this session of legislative assembly.

Why storm over this issue? It is not known. The political observers say that this decision will not have any impact on the outcome the elections, as the electorate had already made-up its mind to which party to vote for. More so, the political critics further point out that BJP leaders always wanted to shift Capital from Shimla, mat be in full or in part, then why the criticism

about Dharamshala as Second Capital. Yes, the most logical criticism could have been the need for Second Capital in geographically smaller state. That too, when the present Chief Minister opposed smaller districts, and even had a tiff with the state congress leadership when it split Kangra and Mandi in various smaller organizational districts.

No logics in political moves are welcomed, whether for or against. Who talks about the issues and problems of the general public? No party is doing this so far.