The Punjab government has once again revised the New Chandigarh Master Plan, this time adding minute details of land use in various zones while dividing the proposed city into 20 sectors numbered till 21. On the lines of Chandigarh, Sector 17 has been planned as the civic centre and there is no Sector 13 as the number is considered ‘unlucky’.
The new plan, currently put up for public scrutiny and objections in the office of the SAS Nagar deputy commissioner, besides the chief town planner’s office in Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA), is likely to be notified before the end of this month after settling the objections, if any, received.
POPULATION DENSITY PER ACRE INCREASED
The biggest change mooted in the new Master Plan is the increase in population density. The original plan had projected New Chandigarh as a “low density, eco-friendly green city” to avoid it going the Zirakpur and Nayagaon way. The population density in residential areas in the earlier master plan was proposed at 100 persons per acre. However, in the new Master Plan, the residential area has been divided into three zones with subsequent increase in the permitted floor area ratio (FAR). The Zone 1 comprises areas wherein the projects under the township policy are already approved. Here the population density has been increased to 150 per acre (75 dwellings per hectare). This will, however, be applicable to only those upcoming projects which are yet to get the change of land use clearances from the government.
The Zone 2 includes the area where the projects are yet to be approved. Here, the population density has been increased to 200 (100 dwellings per hectare). The Zone 3 has the areas at the foothills of the Shivaliks on the north. Here, the density has been kept as low as 30 persons per acre (15 dwellings per hectare). The residential component of New Chandigarh will account for over 37% of the 6,000 hectares falling under the 33 villages that make New Chandigarh.
CIVIC CENTRE SITE CHANGED
The location of the civic centre (Sector17) has been changed in the new master plan. Earlier, nestled between two main arterial roads, the civic centre was spread across 100 hectares, now it has been proposed along the PR4 — a 200-foot 10-lane road — that almost divides New Chandigarh into half. A lake has been planned on 95 acres next to the civic centre on the Jayanti Ki Rao Choe, next to the international cricket stadium being built by the Punjab Cricket Association. At the civic centre 6 hectares have been earmarked for a government hospital, 4.5 hectares for an inter-state bus terminal and 10 hectares for a cultural centre. The civic centre will also have government offices and high rise residential complexes for which land has been earmarked.
ORCHARD AVENUE, GRAND BOULEVARD AND THE GREEN LOOP
Apart from the commercial areas within each township project, the new master plan has mooted the creation of an orchard avenue in the green area next to one of the roads near the Educity, where a shopping street spread over 20 hectares of land has been planned. The green area around the two choes that cut across New Chandigarh have been planned as an integrated blue and green loop of rivers and open spaces, complete with bike trails, picnic spots, food courts, camping sites, outdoor sports facilities and “gardens by the river”. The area delisted under the PLPA in the foothills of the Shivaliks has been proposed for the creation of a golf course.
R&D CENTRE SHIFTED NEAR EDUCITY
While no change has been made in the location of the Educity and Medicity, the R&D centres earlier planned towards the southern end of the local planning area has been shifted closer to the Educity for better synergy.
An area of 60 hectares is kept aside for a science park, a business park and R&D parks. Almost 11 hectares out of this will be for a police training academy, a research and analysis wing of the police and security agencies and other civil defence departments. The new plan also has specific spots kept aside for the construction of metro stations, a futuristic step for a metro line linking New Chandigarh with the tricity.