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Chandigarh’s vendor-free Sector 17 to get facelift

Apart from beautification, landscaping, creation of a new fountain and a dedicated play area for children will be undertaken in areas in front of the general post office
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh | By Munieshwar A Sagar & Vivek Gupta, Chandigarh
UPDATED ON DEC 12, 2019 12:40 AM IST

With the Sector 17 Plaza finally becoming free of vendor encroachments, the rejuvenation plan for the sector is all set to be fast tracked, it has been learnt.

A senior official of the UT engineering department said, “The Chandigarh administration has already been carrying out different works for the rejuvenation of Sector 17 and with the plaza coming back to its vintage glory, it has added impetus to the plans.

Within a week, the work on engraving the city’s map in front of Neelam Cinema will start. “The map will be in the shape of Chandigarh’s emblem the open hand,” the official said, adding, “Seating and lighting arrangements will also be made in and around the map.”

Apart from beautification, landscaping, creation of a new fountain and a dedicated play area for children will be undertaken in areas in front of the general post office.

“These plans were presented before the Chandigarh Heritage Conservation Committee (CHCC) for its approval. Some changes were recommended. A revised proposal has been finalised, which will be presented before the committee. We expect the process to be completed within this month,” said the official. Dark spots will also be lighted up with fancy lights.

GOLF CARTS, VALET PARKING TOO

Also, part of the rejuvenation plan are an urban park, expansion of football stadium, alternate mobility plans for pedestrians which involve use of golf carts. The Chandigarh Smart City Limited will deploy golf carts by the first week of January.

Besides this, MC will soon introduce valet service at the multi-level parking as tender to outsource manpower will be floated in a week’s time. It also has plans to MC chief said that valet parking will surely increase the usage of the market

Bottle crushing machines will also come up by next month as part of MC’s waste management plan. MC has already deployed dedicated garbage collection vehicles in Sector 17 for collection of waste from shops.

The rose garden underpass is also expected to be inaugurated by next week.

Municipal commissioner KK Yadav had also held multiple inspections in the last one week to rejuvenate the plaza’s dead areas in order and restore its old glory that is struggling to compete with city’s growing mall culture.

Yadav told Hindustan Times that after evicting vendors, the major focus of the MC is to uplift the civic infrastructure at plaza. He informed that the priority is to improve the civic amenities, especially in the area behind the ridge market that often remains neglected.

“I have noticed during my recent inspections that the concrete surface has sunk in at multiple locations on the ridge’s sides due to leakages in sewer and storm water lines. There are also broken tiles in pavement and passages both in front and behind the plaza,” said Yadav.

He said, “I have directed MC chief engineer to prepare budget estimates and complete the repair work within two months. Minor repair works like broken tiles will be repaired within a week’s time,” he said

MC inspection points at several deficiencies

The MC’s inspection also revealed that internal pipes at front side of the plaza have been blocked due to continuous discarding of garbage by vendors.

Even the construction of connecting passage bridges is incomplete at most places.

Apart from this, there are several dead green spaces that need replanting. Even pruning of trees is not proper. Waste management is another concern since plaza does not have adequate number of sweepers. Even dustbins are not adequate and not clear on daily basis. “I have taken note of all these issues and asked the officers concerned for appropriate action on priority basis,” said Yadav.

Sector 17, considered heart of the city, lost its past glory in the last decade or so with shopping malls coming up in the city, and large-scale encroachments by vendors. The footfall has fallen, particularly in summers as people opt for air-conditioned malls than the open sector. A number of restaurants and offices have closed or moved out of the sector. The rejuvenation plan has been in the works for the last couple of years and aims to make the sector attractive again for visitors.

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