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Civic first for hill town
- Development plan with inputs from residents

Darjeeling, Dec. 19: For the first time in the 156-year-old history of the Darjeeling municipality, steps are being taken to formulate a comprehensive Draft Development Plan (DDP), in which local people will be allowed to identify priority issues.

“The plan is being undertaken under the aegis of the Directorate of Local Bodies and Darjeeling is among one of the first civic bodies to be included in the programme,” said R. Thatal, the executive officer of the Darjeeling municipality.

The programme, which is being funded by the UK based Department For International Development, is already underway in the 40-odd municipal areas under Calcutta Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA). The programme is now being extended to about 85 non-CMDA civic bodies across the states.

Apart from drawing up the DDP, the programme will also look into accounts reform and the formulation of a citizens’ charter by urban local bodies.

According to sources, the DDP will be formulated keeping in mind the needs of citizens in the next five years. It will include sensitisation programmes for residents, the formation of the DDP policy and the technical group. Suggestions will also be taken from members of ward committees, local associations, NGOs and community development societies, before a final draft is adopted.

As per the guidelines received for drafting the plan, the study will focus on infrastructure, land-use and environment development in one section, while social and livelihood development and strengthening of municipal bodies will be incorporated under separate sections.

The entire process is expected to be completed within a year and efforts will also be undertaken to set up monitoring agencies to look into the implementation of the proposal.

New sewerage line

The municipality areas of Kurseong will soon have a new sewerage line, reports our correspondent. A 12-crore project, this will be the first complete sewerage line in the 125-year history of the civic body. The line will extend from Dowhill to Dhobikhola and Sudahapatole.

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