1       Planning

1.1    Overview of Development of Town

Till 1815, Shimla was merely a small-sized village. During the Gurkha War of 1816, British retained a small patch of land for their residence. The physical infrastructure in the town was negligible till 1830, when British Government decided to acquire land comprising of present Central Shimla from Maharaja of Patiala and Raja of Keonthal State.

The shifting of summer capital of Government of Punjab to Shimla in 1850 accelerated the pace of development and increased the local population. To augment the infrastructure, Municipal Corporation was established in 1851. With provision of infrastructure for population of 25,000 and development of new road network, national highway and a narrow gauge line, further led to growth of the town.

After independence, Shimla became permanent capital of Punjab and started growing along east-west axis. The Mall became a CBD for the city. Due to limited accessibility and primarily pedestrian traffic, development took place between Cart Road and Mall Road.

With relocation of capital of Punjab to Chandigarh, the town served as a district head quarter and later became capital of the State of Himachal Pradesh. The increasing importance of the town in administration, trade and commerce, and tourism led to increasing migration from the region. Presently, Shimla and its adjoining areas are fastest growing towns in the State.

1.2    Shimla Planning Area

In order to ensure planned and regulated growth, GoHP constituted Shimla Planning Area through notification in November 1977. Shimla Planning Area (SPA) comprise of following:

(1)       Shimla Municipal Corporation (SMC)

(2)       Recently merged Special Areas of Dhalli, New Shimla, and Tutu

(3)       Special Areas of Kufri, Shoghi and Ghanahatti

The geographical spread of SPA is roughly 100 sq. km as presented in Table 7.1.


Table  STYLEREF 1 \s 1. SEQ Table \* ARABIC \s 1 1   Area details of Shimla Planning Area



Area (in Hectare).

%  of Total

Shimla Municipal Corporation



New Shimla[1]









SADA Ghanahatti[2]



SADA Kufri[3]



SADA Shoghi3



Total SPA Area



Source: Shimla Municipal Corporation

1.3    Policy, Legal, and Institutional Framework

The HP Town and Country Planning Act, 1977 provides the legal framework for planning process for Shimla Planning Area.  Following the constitution of Shimla Planning Area under HP Town and Country Planning Act, 1977, existing landuse was frozen through notification in March 1978, whereby change of landuse became mandatory requirement.

Interim Development Plan (IDP) notified in 1979 provided the blue print for planning and development of Shimla till date. During this time IDP has been amended and total 37 amendments were introduced. Regularization of unauthorized constructions & landuse has largely affected the plans proposed in IDP.

For implementation of the development plan, GoHP constituted Shimla Development Authority (SDA) in late 1980. The primary function of the Authority was to ensure planned development of the city. The SDA, however, confined itself to building and construction activities. In 1995, SDA was upgraded to Himachal Nagar Vikas Pradhikaran, which also remained as construction agency. In 2000, SDA was merged into Housing Board. In 2004, Housing Board was restructured as Himachal Pradesh Housing and Urban Development Authority (HIMUDA) under HP Housing and Urban Development Authority Act 2004. However, HIMUDA is involved in construction rather than regulating growth and ensuring planned development.

TCP has prepared the Development Plan for Shimla, which has been submitted, to GoHP for approval and notification.

The SMC is the competent authority for providing planning permissions for buildings and regulation of constructions in the Municipal Areas. It is also nodal agency for recommending planning permissions for Restricted Areas, Core Areas and Heritage Zones to Town and Country Planning for approvals. The building permission cases falling in Core Area are processed and thereafter referred to the State Govt. for approval.

1.4    Physical Planning

The physical aspects of land relate to availability of land, land usage pattern, extent of open spaces, etc. Land management is the most important aspect of city development; it has potential to be the biggest facilitator or the most critical constraint for development. Land development principles of the city should be closely aligned with the economic and infrastructure base of the city.

1.4.1          Existing Landuse

Of the total area of 9950 hectares of Shimla Planning Area, about 1475 hectares which accounts for 15% of the total SPA is under urban use. The existing landuse of SPA is presented in Figure 7.1.


   Table  STYLEREF 1 \s 1. SEQ Table \* ARABIC \s 1 2   Area details of Shimla Planning Area

S. N.

Land Use

Area (in Hectare)

% of urban area

% of Planning Area






















Public & semi- public





Parks & open spaces





Traffic and Transportation




Sub total












Water bodies and undevelopable land



Grand Total



1.4.2         Shimla Development Plan

For planned and regulated development of Shimla Planning Area, Shimla Development Plan 2021 has been prepared and is awaiting notification from GoHP. The proposed landuse as per Shimla Development Plan is as follows

Figure  STYLEREF 1 \s 1. SEQ Figure \* ARABIC \s 1 3  Proposed Landuse Pattern of Shimla Planning Area

To regulate future urban development and consequent growth, the Shimla Development Plan proposes: 

Ø      Development of nodes on the periphery of the city on Chandigarh, Rampur and Bilaspur Highways

Ø      Development of commercial activity centers at Ganahatti, Mehli, Kufri, Fagu and Mashobra area

Ø      Encouragement to industrial activities restricted only to green industries

Ø      Interconnection to proposed nodes and activity centers through well-laid networks of road and city bus service

1.4.3         Zoning Regulations

The IDP and Draft Shimla Development Plan specifies zoning regulations applicable to landuse zone, uses permitted, non conforming use of land and structures, maximum size of plot, plot coverage, maximum number of storeys, set backs and density of development. The salient features of zoning regulations are as follows:

Ø      The minimum area of residential plot is 150sqm, where new subdivision of land is effected

Ø      The maximum numbers of storeys permitted are four except Jakhoo Complex and sinking/sliding zone. In Jakhoo complex, three storeyed constructions is permitted; where as single storey construction is permitted in sinking/sliding zones 

1.5   Planning Issues In Development of Hill Area

Ø      Development pattern of Shimla is governed by its topographical constraints like steep slopes, elongated hilly spurs, forest areas, and zones of perpetual sunshades. Due to extremely limited vehicular accessibility and dependence on pedestrian movement, development of Shimla is concentrated in limited area 

Ø      The Ridge and southern slopes are more amenable for development due to gradual slopes and sunny side. Thus all major landuses are located on southern slopes of Shimla

Ø      Shimla is facing the problems typically faced by any hilly region like soil erosion, flooding of foothills, scarcity of buildable land, emergence of linear urban corridors, inaccessibility of certain areas, uneven development of urban system

Ø      The high growth of population coupled with the floating population is exerting heavy pressure on existing infrastructure and also leading to encroachments, unauthorized constructions, construction activities not incompatible with traditional culture and heritage of the city

Ø      Poor enforcement of zoning regulations


1.6   Vision and Strategy

Because of natural endowment, Shimla is ecologically rich and has large economic potential, which needs to be utilized in sustainable manner. For hill town like Shimla, a conservation oriented integrated development approach is more suitable for planning and development, which can protect the hill ecosystem and promote development in environmentally sustainable manner.

Development approach for Shimla hill area should emphasize on

-         Planned development of tourism activities for sustainable economy

-         Rational urban settlement system for efficient functioning of capital city

-         Optimal utilization and development of resources in ecologically sustainable manner

Figure  STYLEREF 1 \s 1. SEQ Figure \* ARABIC \s 1 4 Planning Strategies for Shimla Planning Area

The identified interventions include:

Renewal of Core Area

Ø      The most important area of improvement for a rapidly growing city is its core area. Efforts should be made to decongest the core areas through selective relocation of non conforming activities like timber market, transport hub, wholesale grain market, wholesale vegetable market, bus stand. SMC/GoHP would need to identify land in the peripheral areas and provide space for re-location

Ø      All the State Government offices and institutions in heritage buildings may be shifted to new location. The buildings and associated spaces presently holding the above activities can be effectively used for tourism activities and earn sizable income to the state revenue

Ø      This would require Preparation of Area Development Plans with urban renewal as the main theme and development of new guidelines for the Core Area for the future development

Decentralized Planning

Ø      Development of growth centers/development nodes like township in periurban area


Better Landuse Planning

Ø      The boundary of Shimla Municipal Corporation was demarcated three decades back and areas outside municipal limits had rapidly grown and have become part of urban development. These areas have grown in haphazard manner without adequate infrastructure. Recently municipal boundary has been revised to include three SADA areas. The boundary should be revised every ten years to keep pace with development of Shimla Planning Area

Ø      For integrated area development, District Planning Committee as required under 74th CAA should be constituted. The DPC should consolidate the plans prepared for SPA with other plans prepared by panchayats in the district taking into consideration common interests of various stakeholders including spatial planning, sharing of water and other physical and natural resources, and the integrated development of infrastructure and environmental conservation

Ø      Shimla Urban Planning Authority (SUPA) may be constituted for Shimla Planning Area. SUPA should prepare regional Master Plan/Detailed Development Plan for Shimla Planning Area. This agency should be well equipped with necessary capacity, in terms of both skills and supporting legislations, for effective planning and management. The efforts of this agency must be systematically coordinated with those of SMC

Ø      Unified Traffic and Transport Authority (UTTA) may be constituted for the Shimla Planning Area. UTTA should prepare and implement Comprehensive Traffic and Transportation Plan for Shimla Planning Area. This agency shall act as nodal agency for effective planning development and management of transportation plan

Ø      Institutional Capacity Building in terms of using GIS and remote sensing tools in mapping and planning  

Information Base

Ø      It is recommended to generate a spatial database for SPA and this database could be used as a tool for the sustainable land use planning


1.7   Sectoral Investment Plan

(Rs. Lakhs)





Investment Schedule








Renewal of Core Area[5]









Development of nodes/townships[6]









GIS based spatial database 









Capacity Building on GIS based planning

















1.8   Project Information Sheets

Project Title: Renewal of Core Area

Project Description: Renewal of Core Area is proposed to be implemented for entire Core Area.  Core Area is defined as an area delimited by Cart Road. The renewal of Core Area shall include

-         Shifting of non conforming activities like timber market, wholesale vegetable market, wholesale grain market, transport hub, bus stand, slaughter house and relocation of these activities in periurban areas

-         Shifting and relocation of State Government Offices from Heritage Buildings in Mall area; revitalization of these buildings for appropriate adaptive reuse

-         Reconstruction of Tibetan market with traditional Tibetan architect

-         Rehabilitation and refurbishment of water supply and sewerage network

-         Cleaning, rehabilitation and lining of drainage system

-         Strengthening and upgradation of walkways and staircases

-         Improvement in street lighting

-         Construction, restoration and rehabilitation of retaining walls

Project Benefits:

-         Reduce congestion

-         Improvement in service delivery

-         Improvement in environmental conditions

Project Cost : Project cost considered separately under respective sector

Revenue Sources :

Implementation Structure: SMC and GoHP shall implement the relocation and rehabilitation of non- conforming activities.  Construction components related to urban renewal shall be implemented by SMC on EPC contract

Financing Mechanism : Capital cost to be financed by the SMC and GoHP using funds to raised through grant under JNNURM and State and ULB contribution through budgetary source/loans; O&M cost to be recovered from user charges of service utilities and property tax

Time Frame:  March 2008

Institutional Responsibility: SMC, GoHP and Private Operator

Preparatory Activity for Implementation:

Preparation of DPR

Related Programme, Plan and Policies:

-         Preparation of Area Development Plan for Core Area with urban renewal as the main theme

-         Development of new guidelines for the Core Area for the future development

-         Relocation and rehabilitation policy for the Project Affected People for each activity to be relocated

Additional Studies:


[1] Notified as Special Area Development Authority in 2003 and merged in SMC in August 2006

[2] Notified as Special Area Development Authority in 2004

[3] Notified as Special Area Development Authority in 2000

[4] at current price

[5] project cost considered separately under respective sector

[6] project cost considered under housing sector