The urban planning department of the administration, upon the directions of the UT administrator’s adviser Vijay Kumar Dev, has written to the Estate Office and the municipal corporation (MC) to implement all existing building rules to “remove the visual clutter” and “improve the image” of Sector 17 by April 30. The top issues are the restoration of the exposed concrete to its original character, and regulation of the advertisement boards.
This comes in furtherance of the adviser’s visit in January — soon after he took charge. Around a month ago, there was even a declaration by the deputy commissioner-cum-estate officer Mohammad Shayin that restoring the glory of Sector 17 was among his top priorities. After the letter served as reminder about the promises, meetings and presentations with trader bodies have been held to make them aware of the norms. But, meeting the deadline remains a challenge, according to the implementing officials and the businessmen involved in the meeting. Shayin did not respond to calls on Friday.
The letter written earlier this week by the office of the UT chief architect lists out the key topics, and also refers to laws and notifications over the years to clarify what is to be done. On the basis of this letter — a copy of which is with HT — a Powerpoint presentation was shown by the estate office to Sector-17 traders, who for now seem enthused by the knowledge but want more time for making the required changes.
DRAWINGS, PLANS SHARED
Specific drawings and size charts of the permitted advertising boards were also shared at the meeting, “which gave us a clear idea as to what is permitted and what is not,” informed JP Singh Kalra, general secretary of the traders’ association, Sector 17. These are now being distributed among traders for clarity.
As for restoring the exposed concrete, one of the hallmarks of Chandigarh as designed by the legendary French architect Le Corbusier, the letter even refers to an instance in 2005 when, during a visit of the then administrator, the MC chief engineer had shown some sample work and the procedure was then approved. Another procedure was adopted by the UT chief engineer in cleaning the Capitol Complex concrete, it adds, saying that either could be adopted. Details of these have also been attached.
UNEVEN FLOORING, HANGING WIRES
The letter further makes specific reference to uneven levels of corridor floors and the hanging electricity wires and other such features that pose a threat to the public at large and to the buildings in particular. It refers to a notification of June 15, 2000, to underline how air-conditioners must be fitted above the false ceiling in the verandah. And it also quotes a notification of March 30, 2000, about how shopkeepers are free to adopt any design or martial for flooring in corridors as long as it’s not glazed and slippery and “the same level is maintained”.
‘INFO FINE, BUT NEED MORE TIME’
Traders said some of the boards installed already might be in violation of rules, but these should not be removed straightaway. Kamaljit Singh Panchhi, president of the traders association, said, “Traders did not indeed know some of the rules, and we are now going to make our fraternity aware of these. But we will need more time and would also have to first discuss as to what should be the timeline and roadmap.”