Shimla, Jan 6 (IANS) To give a green solution to Shimla's problem of vehicular pollution and traffic congestion, the government has plans to go for a monorail project, a minister said Sunday.
The Shimla monorail, the first of its kind in a hilly state, will get a nod from the 0union ministry for urban development if the Delhi Metro Rail Corp (DMRC) clears it.
Urban Development Minister Sudhir Sharma told IANS that the project proposal was discussed with central Minister for Urban Development Kamal Nath by Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh in New Delhi Saturday.
Sharma, who was present at the meeting, said Kamal Nath asked DMRC to carry out a survey and prepare a feasibility report within six months.
The project, which will cost around Rs.5,000 crore, would be funded by the central government, he added.
He said there were plans to start monorail projects in other towns too, including Dharamsala, the abode of the Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.
In Shimla, locals travel mainly by public transport buses.
Officials said the monorail service will also connect nearby destinations like Shogi and Sanjauli and offer faster connectivity besides decongesting road traffic.
Rajesh Mehta, former director of the state's town and country planning department, said an electrified transportation system will help protect the town's green zones - the only surviving lungs in a concrete jungle.
"It is a solution to Shimla's chronic problem of vehicular traffic," said Mehta, a Shimla resident.
Even Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Nitin Gadkari has advocated the need to promote the use of renewable energy and an electrified transportation system to cut consumption of fossil fuel and to decongest roads of Shimla.
Official sources said he had advised his party's previous government in the state a number of times.
Shimla, the erstwhile summer capital of the British Raj, has several auto-free zones to facilitate unrestricted movement of pedestrians.
The Mall and the historic Ridge, an open space just above the Mall, now a hub of commercial activity, were once 'British only' streets meant for strolling.