Is There No Place for the Poor in Dharamshala "Smart" City?

The migration of poor, homeless people in distress from faraway rural areas to upcoming urban and sub-urban hubs is not a new phenomenon. The demolition of the Charan Khad settlement in Dharamshala on 16 and 17 June 2016, is a classic story of slum demolition and the ongoing struggle of displaced people. Dharamshala is one more example of urbanisation where people were rendered homeless in the wake of the city being declared “smart.”


Dharamshala, located in the lap of the Dhauladhar ranges of the Himalayas in Kangra district, Himachal Pradesh is famous for the Indian Premier League cricket matches and has been a haven for foreign tourists for years. The place provided refuge to a Tibetans from across national borders. It is ironic then that the same city is suddenly unable to accommodate a few hundred families, because they are “illegal occupants,” when they had been part of building the city itself. 

Charan Khad Settlement

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