Internationally acclaimed creator of the Rock Garden Nek Chand left behind yet another unfulfilled dream of preparing sculptures and murals for the Chandigarh International Airport. He was also to create a waterfall at the parking area, but could not do so in the absence of financial support.
In one of a recent communications to the airport authorities in March, Nek Chand had stated, "I wish to leave latest imprint of my artwork at the Chandigarh International Airport."
Close associates of Nek Chand claim that the airport authority of India (AAI) had infact approached Nek Chand for the purpose. Nek Chand had got a communication from the AAI in July 2014, after which he had visited the airport site. A formal meeting was also held in September 2014.
Following which, Nek Chand had started preparing different drawings of his creative ideas. The drawings were also submitted to the airport authorities. Different meetings were held, which were attended by Nek Chand and his son Anuj Saini.
Nek Chand had to stop the work on the waterfall, which was expected to be completed by April 30, mid-way as the firms that had earlier supported the project opted out as they did not find the project financially viable. The waterfall's cost was expected to be around `35 lakh and Nek Chand was told "if he could arrange some other sponsers".
As the pace of the project got slow, Nek Chand, expressing his unhappiness, wrote a letter to the AAI on March 14 and had pointed out that not even a single artwork or mural designed by him was being installed at the airport.
Airport CEO Sunil Dutt said, "We never asked Nek Chand for arranging sponsors. Infact, we had invited tenders for different beautification works, including work to be done by Nek Chand. However, the two firms that were shortlisted for sponsorship had backed off as they did not find the project cost-effective. As a tribute to the legend, we will invite the tenders again."
The beautification plan
It was decided that the artwork would depict the culture of Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh. Nek Chand, keeping in view the present times, had come up with an idea of sculptures, wearing modern clothes and holding bags. A wall mural depicting the city beautiful and Rock Garden were also planned.