Chandigarh’s Rock Garden is on every visitor’s must-see list. Unfortunately, a visit to City Beautiful’s iconic heritage forces you to hold your breath, not for the panoramic view but for the fetid stench of urine and rampant littering, particularly in phase 3. This phase is where the ground for concerts and swings are located.
Spread over 40 acres in Sector 1, Rock Garden is a popular tourist attraction with a footfall of 5,000 a day. Many of the tourists are foreigners. The monument to recycling waste generates an income of Rs 1 lakh a day, making it one of the most profitable tourist sightseeing sites in the region.Despite such impressive credentials, the Hindustan Times team encountered broken dustbins, heaps of garbage, disposable glasses and plates strewn all over and stinking toilets in Rock Garden’s phase 3. Though phases 1 and 2 were cleaner, many dustbins in the garden had no base! A sum of Rs 5 lakh is paid every month to the sanitation contractor, who was given the contract a year ago.
He has deployed 22 sweepers to maintain the 40 acres.
The HT team was told that after 2 pm, no sweeper is seen in the garden.
Flush with funds
Apart from the entry ticket of Rs 20, the authorities earn a decent amount by renting out spaces for marriages and other functions in phases 2 and 3. As per records, nearly `70 lakh is earned in this manner in a month, but it has not helped in ensuring upkeep. The month-long Swachh Bharat campaign, launched by the MC a month ago, has not covered Rock Garden so far.
Sanitation supervisor Janit Jain admitted that dustbins were broken and the UT administration had been requested on this front, but in vain.
On the poor maintenance in phase 3, Jain blamed eateries in the area. “Some of them have not even kept dustbins, forcing visitors to throw disposable plates and glasses in the open,” he said.
“We do not even have any place to throw the garbage collected. We have to go all the way to the main entry point to dispose the garbage,” he added.
Also Read: Sector 62 Nature Park an example to emulate