Life on the periphery | In a mess: Pinjore pangs | punjab$chandigarh | Hindustan Times
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Life on the periphery | In a mess: Pinjore pangs

The town once known for it pretty Mughal gardens and the HMT factory has now fallen on bad days with little in the name of development. Illegal settlements are what mark half of Pinjore. Cross the Chandimandir toll plaza and illegal constructions on both sides stare you in the face. On the left are settlements on hills and on the right are dense habitations.

punjab Updated: Mar 14, 2017 12:07 IST
Bhartesh Singh Thakur
Ever since Pinjore was transferred to the municipal corporation, the residents have been expecting a cleanup of the area but to no avail. And there is hardly any deployment of sanitation staff.
Ever since Pinjore was transferred to the municipal corporation, the residents have been expecting a cleanup of the area but to no avail. And there is hardly any deployment of sanitation staff.(Sant Arora/HT)

The town once known for it pretty Mughal gardens and the HMT factory has now fallen on bad days with little in the name of development. Illegal settlements are what mark half of Pinjore. Cross the Chandimandir toll plaza and illegal constructions on both sides stare you in the face. On the left are settlements on hills and on the right are dense habitations.

Traffic snarls caused mainly by trucks and poor sanitation are the other problems that plague Pinjore.

According to district handbook of census, the Pandavas stayed here for some time on their way to the Himalayas. It adds that about 5,000 years ago, Pinjore was known as Panchpura and later with passage of time, it changed to Pinjore.

Pinjore is famous for the beautiful Mughal Gardens, possibly the oldest in northern India, known as Pinjore Gardens or Yadvindra Gardens, built by an architect called Fidai Khan.

The Haryana government has now recreated the whole complex by installing fountains, building a rest house and conducting regular fairs.

Illegal constructions

Illegal constructions mushroomed in Pinjore after the ACC cement acquired local land for its factory in the 1930s. The displaced residents encroached on government land to build houses.

A lot of colonies also came up for workers employed in the factory. So, people have been living here for decades but their settlements are illegal. And illegal means the government spends no money on developing roads, streetlights or streets in these areas.

Since, the notification of master plan for Pinjore-Kalka Urban Complex, a number of illegal plotted colonies have also been floated by property dealers, prompting the Town and Country Planning department to register FIRs against these dealers.

These property dealers used to get the land transferred from owners through general power of attorney (GPA). Then they would carve the land into plots of different sizes and sell them to various people by evading the licence fee, conversion charges, development charges and registry fee, amounting to crores, which would have otherwise p gone to the government exchequer.

Earlier, only land owners used to get booked but later orders were passed to book property dealers too. Usually, poor people who bought these plots bore the brunt of administration action, while the dealers went scot-free. These new constructions have also been demolished many times.

The illegal colonies include Manakpur-Nanakchand, Manakpur-Thakurdas, Chawla Colony, Anchal Vihar Colony and Dhamala Colony where no development work has been taking place.

“The BJP government has not spent a single penny on our ward as most of its area is covered by illegal colonies. These include Mahadev Colony, Rajjipur, BCW Surajpur, Chandikotla, Raipur Harijan Basti, Raipur Muslim Basti, Raipur Gujjar Basti, Bhagwanpur and Rampur Seudi. There are no street lights and dustbins here,” complains former sarpanch of Rampur Seudi, whose wife is present area councillor Seema Devi.

Traffic woes

Traffic jams from the road near the Pinjore Gardens till the T-point outside the police station are routine in Pinjore. Long queues of trucks could be seen either going towards Baddi or coming from there. Many accidents have taken place due to these trucks. Illegal encroachments, including a fruit market, around the Pinjore Gardens only compound the problem.

Traffic congestion and poor condition of roads have always been a source of trouble for Pinjore residents. (Sant Arora/HT)

The only solution is Pinjore-Sukhomajri-Baddi bypass but it is yet to see the light of the day. “The bypass has been promised. It has been announced but where is the inauguration?” asks Indian National Lok Dal councillor Satinder Singh Tony.

However, Kalka MLA Latika Sharma says tenders have been floated and around Rs 200 crore will be spent on the construction of the 7.70-kilometer-long bypass. “Apart from this, eight small bridges, a railway underpass, water outlets and a 3-km-long service road will be constructed. But till its completion, there will be congestion.”

There is a restriction on the movement of trucks in Pinjore during school hours but after that it is chaos.

Accident-prone points

Pinjore town has the maximum number of accident-prone points, which include the area around Pinjore Gardens due to heavy traffic of trucks and the road from Bir Ghaggar to Durgiana Temple where traffic merges from the Panchkula-Shimla highway. Then, there is the cut under the flyover which leads to the Saket hospital, a sure-shot recipe for chaos.

The slope from Amravati to Rajjipur T-point, and a sharp turn at the Mallah Mor, are among other accident-prone points, where buses have turned turtle.

The HMT T-point, where traffic merges from both sides of the highway, is also vulnerable to traffic mishaps.

Besides there are other risky points such as the Nanakpur-Ramnagar T-point, Situ Majra, T-point Karanpur and T-point Charnia.

Sanitation scenario

Ever since Pinjore was transferred to the municipal corporation, the residents have been expecting a cleanup of the area but to no avail. And there is hardly any deployment of sanitation staff.

Many colonies are yet to be connected to sewerage lines.

The worst eyesore in Pinjore is the garbage dumped near the cremation ground in Saini Mohalla.

Crusher zone

A big crusher zone is located in Burjkotia with over 40 crushers. It is a big source of air and noise pollution in the area. Residents of Burjkotia and nearby Amravati Enclave have been complaining about it but in vain.

HMT factory facing closure

The HMT’s tractor division at Pinjore, which falls under the central government’s heavy industry ministry, is also facing closure. This decision has led to heartburn among the 1,100 employees working here. It used to be a lifeline of the town as a number ancillary units had also come up around it.

HMT Limited was established in 1953. The erstwhile state of Punjab gifted around 839-acre of land to HMT in 1962, for setting up an industrial unit. It started functioning in 1963 when then PM Jawaharlal Nehru inaugurated it. In 1971, the tractor division was started. The Pinjore unit is located on Panchkula-Shimla highway. HMT tractors used to be number 2 in the market but post liberalisation, they started losing their sheen. For around 15 years now the factory has been incurring losses due to poor off-take, under-utilisation of capacity and working capital constraints.

A package of Rs 1,083 crore was given to the unit in 2013 but it failed to revive it. Now in October, 2016, the closure was announced. A number of employees took VRS, but others have approached the high court. “The union wanted the government to revive the industry but we have little say. The backlog of salaries of the last 30 months was cleared in December last year,” said Mahinder Singh, president of HMT Karmik Sangh.

The tools division with 300 employees is also likely to meet the same fate now.

Quotes

“For me, sanitation and traffic are the two biggest problems of the area. We need more sanitation staff and vehicles and immediate construction of Pinjore-Baddi bypass.” - Satinder Singh Tony, INLD councillor

“There used to be a temporary pickup point near our shop. It has not been shifted to a shed but people still throw garbage here. Water quality in this area is also poor.” - Subhash Sharma, owner of MD Motors shop

“These crushers have no time regulation. They can start anytime. A lot of people are suffering from breathing problems due to this crusher zone. Wild animals also spoil our crop.” - Tejinder Singh, resident of Ambwala village

“Our area on the other side of Kaushalaya river has little connectivity with the main town. We expect that a 4-lane road will be constructed over the dam. The roads here are in a very poor condition.” - Naresh Mann, former councillor of erstwhile Pinjore Municipal Committee

Official speak

“The area has some problems but we are working to solve them. The bypass will solve the traffic problem and a proposal is under consideration to regularise the illegal colonies. The opposition just complains. None of my predecessors had worked so much,” said MLA Kalka Latika Sharma.

Facts

Pinjore population: Around 40,000 as per census 2011

Police station: 1

Health centre: 1

It is home to the famous Pinjore Gardens built by the Mughals.