The UT urban planning department has deviated from its own laid-down architectural control while designing the shopping bays on the upcoming over bridge in Sector 17-A.
As per the architectural control, the standard bay width of all shop-cum-offices (SCO) in Sector 17-A, B, C and D is 17 feet 3 inches. However, the department has violated the standard width by enhancing it to 22 feet in bay numbers 13 to 16. The width of bays in the old over bridge is 17 feet 3 inches.
Ironically, the administration in the past has turned down several representations of the traders requesting relaxation in the existing building bylaws pertaining to SCOs on grounds that Sector 17 was part of Chandigarh heritage and its architectural control could not be altered or modified in any way.
The Chandigarh Beopar Mandal (CBM) had been demanding for allowing lift up to the top floor, which the administration turned down citing the laid-down controls.
Similarly, the request for increasing the height of glazing at ground floor of SCOs from 7 feet 6 inches to 12 feet was turned down on the plea that the advertisement and signboards would be displayed on the parapet, which would lead to defacement of the external facade and also spoil the architectural character of the city centre.
Criticising the administration, the CBM termed the step of urban planning department to deviate from norms as “double standards”.
Vinod Joshi, chairman, building bylaw committee of CBM, said the administration had committed grave violation in architectural control originally prepared for SCOs in Sector 17 by increasing width of the bays in the upcoming over bridge.
“As per law of natural justice all matters pertaining to bays of SCO or external architectural control should be dealt under one set of rules. UT administration is wrong in having separate set of architectural control for government SCOs and bays, and private SCOs,” Joshi said.
The traders also rued that the UT estate office had been issuing notices to the owners of the SCOs, who had been using first and second floor for commercial purposes, despite the fact that the controls prepared based on Le-Corbusier's concept of SCOs in Sector 17 had allowed use of basements, ground floor, first floor and second floor for commercial purposes.
At present, the owners have to get the basement, ground floor, first floor and second floor converted into commercial after making payments amounting to several lakhs.
Despite repeated attempts, UT finance-cum- urban planning secretary VK Singh was not available for comments.