The tall claims of the administration to provide best environment and facilities at Rock Garden have fallen flat as garbage and stink greet visitors, who throng the tourist spot with high expectations.
Plastic bags and other waste litter at Rock Garden in Chandigarh. Gurpreet Singh/HT
A visit to the garden is enough to expose the fake claims of the officials as one
can see piles of debris, animals faeces and garbage strewn all over the place, especially in the alleys.
The interlinked waterfalls and pools created for boosting the beauty have turned cesspools with visitors dumping garbage in it. The water bodies like all other parts of the garden have not been cleared since long as empty bottles, pan masala packets and sachets of eatables thrown all over have gathered dust since months.
The authorities have been approached by visitors, both national and foreigners, complaining about the cleanness of the place. Even the director and creator of Rock Garden, Nek Chand, has received numerous such complaints in the past few years. The 87-year-old creator has brought the issue to the notice of the authorities concerned, but in vain.
"In the past few years, many visitors, especially foreigners, approached me with complaints about the upkeep of the garden and I have conveyed the same to the authorities, but very little has been done to address the issue," rued Nek Chand.
The visitors, who throng the place with high expectations, are left disappointed after seeing the unkempt surroundings. Bislim Goxhufi, a German national, who was in the city for a business trip, was impressed with the concept of the garden, but not with its maintenance. Taking to HT, Goxhufi said: "Such a place can only be created by a genius mind. However, the cleanness part leaves a lot to be desired about."
Complaining about the maintenance of the much-talked about garden, Albert Patrick, a Belgium national, said he had a different picture of the garden in his mind, but after visiting the spot he was left disappointed. "The surroundings are very dirty and the pools are filled with garbage. Besides, all alleys stinks. The unhygienic environment of the garden puts off visitors," said Patrick.
The Rock Garden witnesses a footfall of around 5000 visitors on daily basis and Rs. 20 is charged as entry fee from each visitor. The entry fee has been recently enhanced from Rs. 15 to Rs. 20.
The garden is managed by the Rock Garden Society with UT home secretary as chairman and UT superintendent engineer (circle two) as secretary of the society. The society has been generating ample revenue, but from the state of affair of the garden it appears they are not spending much on the upkeep of the site.
The authorities concerned claim that proper care of the garden is being taken and a staff of 20 workers has been deputed for cleaning the place. Giving explanation for the unkempt garden, UT chief engineer SK Chadha said the place was cleaned in the evening as it was not possible to clean it during the rush hours. However, he assured to look into the matter and ensure that the place is properly maintained.