Former Brit summer capital Shimla fights back against street dogs and decline

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Shimla, July 27 (ANI): Shimla, the once genteel summer capital of British India and playground of viceroys and maharajahs, is to reclaim its streets after being over-run by packs of savage stray dogs ccording to The Telegraph, a court has ordered Shimla's municipal corporation to remove an estimated 4,000 street dogs, which have attacked residents and tourists, from its famous malls and promenades and relocate them outside the town.

The order has highlighted the scale of decline in the town once known as the "Queen of the Hills". himla was discovered by a Scottish East India Company officer in the early 19th century and was the Raj's favourite retreat from the heat and dust of the Indian summer.

Now officials accept its colonial heritage, one of its major attractions, is under threat.

Its municipal commissioner, A.N. Sharma, said he had seen Shimla decline from a well mannered and "disciplined" town in the early 1970s to its current state, where, he said, incomers defied the threat of fines and "urinate in the streets".

He said his ambition is to restore the resort's "heritage buildings" to their original grandeur with help from the Asian Development Bank and that the town had made a start by renovating the Gaiety Theatre, which was formally reopened earlier in the summer.

Now, Sharma wants to begin work on Shimla's Tudor-beamed General Post Office, Christ Church, which has one the finest stained glass windows in India, and other Victorian buildings along its Ridge.

It is an ambitious dream. Many of the buildings, most occupied by government offices on peppercorn, rent-controlled leases, are close to collapse and appear to be dangerously unfit for human habitation.

The court case has been pending for around four years.

Since the 1940's, the beauty and attraction of the hill resort has declined due to increased population, corruption and illegal construction of buildings. (ANI)

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