By OUR STAFF REPORTER
DEHRADUN, 31 Aug: An interactive session between S K Das, former Chief Secretary of Uttarakhand and students from the School of Planning and Architecture (SPA), New Delhi was held today at Natraj: The Green Bookshop. Das, while speaking on the occasion shared his experience on the development agenda for the city and urged the team to focus on critical issues being faced by the current administration, in making the city truly smart. He expressed the hope that with the younger generation taking interest, it will be possible to restore the city to its past glory. The team from SPA is on a visit to the city to look at the multi-layered cultural landscape, including sacred landscapes, cultural and pilgrimage routes linking numerous historic settlements, relict landscapes as well as historic urban landscapes associated with settlement typologies and modulated landscapes developed during the 19th and early 20th century. The team will focus on mainstreaming Heritage Management, Sustainable Conservation and Development of Cultural Landscapes into Government Programmes. Anuradha Chaturvedi, Associate Professor & Head Department of Architectural Conservation , who is leading the group said they were looking at the carrying capacity of Dehra Dun & Mussoorie to save the valley from degradation. She said there is a need to look for a capital at a suitable place in the hills which will take care of the immigration problem, job opportunities and rapid over-all development of the state, particularly for those living in the hills. This will surely bring people back to their roots, just as it has happened in the neighboring state of Himachal Pradesh. The book “Sals of the Valley: A Memorial to Dehradun” by Pradeep Singh was released on the occasion. The book is a tribute to the Sal forests that symbolize the strength and the permanence of the virtues of the Dehra Dun valley. They form the dramatic backdrop of the seven stories in this anthology. Pradeep Singh, whose family has lived in Dehradun for over 300 years disclosed that he was in possession of a British document that certified Dehra Dun suitable to be made the Capital of India at one point.