Urban Development and Town and Country Planning Minister Sudhir Sharma said that the State Government was resolute to transform the urban areas of the State and all out efforts would be made to introduce advanced management practices and technologies for achieving this target.

He was presiding over the Mutual Cooperation Conference organized by the Urban Development Department for collaboration between the Governments of Netherlands and Himachal Pradesh, here today. The conference was attended by the Ambassador of Netherlands Alphonsus Stoelinga along-with the business delegates of different companies from Netherlands.

Sudhir Sharma said that Himachal Government would work in collaboration with the Netherlands government for preparing developmental work plans for the environmental cooperation areas. He said that the State would seek technical know how from Netherlands for important sectors like solid waste management, urban and regional planning, city development plan, water management, sewerage, transport management, saving of energy and capacity building for all Urban Local Bodies in the State. He said that garbage disposal was one of the major issue for which the State was looking forward to adopt the model of the Netherlands.

The Minister said that Netherlands had advanced in different sectors of urban development and there was a vast scope for the replication of advanced technologies and management practices in the State. The State government had already sent a proposal to the Government of India for including two cities of the State under City Sanitation Plan being funded by the Netherlands.

The Minister said that the State government would discuss the matter regarding agreement with the Netherlands with the Union Ministry of External Affairs. He revealed that waste management consortia from Netherlands would conduct free of cost feasibility studies for the Himachal government in the focus areas related to waste, water and energy management.

The Netherlands government would also prepare city development plans for ten district headquarters of the State excluding Kinnaur and Lahaul-Spiti districts. Moreover, the Netherlands Ambassador has also assured to offer free technical assistance to the State for developing one city as model city having modern facilities of sewerage, parking, roads, drains and parking etc. He added that one town of the State would also be developed as model town for energy efficiency and this experiment would help the State to take steps for saving the energy.

Ambassador of Netherlands Alphonsus Stoelinga said that feasibility study would offer pragmatic key insights into the intrinsic value of waste as a resource, allowing the local authorities to come up with a strategic business model to manage their waste.

Secretary, Urban Development R.D. Nazeem said that Himachal Government was spending a lot of funds in the field of urban development and with technical assistance from Netherlands government the State would be benefited immensely for qualitative and planned development.

The presentations were given on waste management, urban planning and water management, city development, capacity building and energy efficient city lighting plan during the conference.

Capt. J.M Pathania, Director, Urban Development detailed the various projects and activities being undertaken by the department to develop the urban areas. The representatives of various Urban Local Bodies of the State and senior officers of the concerned departments were also present in the conference.