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Traffic chaos rules the roads in Industrial Area

The recently opened malls and hotels in the city’s Industrial Area Phase I may have become a reason to cheer for city residents, but driving on the roads leading to them is nothing less than a challenge — courtesy the traffic snarls there.

chandigarh Updated: Jun 27, 2013 10:59 IST
Vinod Kumar
Vinod Kumar
Hindustan Times

The recently opened malls and hotels in the city’s Industrial Area Phase I may have become a reason to cheer for city residents, but driving on the roads leading to them is nothing less than a challenge — courtesy the traffic snarls there.

There are three malls and five hotels in Phase I of Industrial Area. And, with at least a dozen more major commercial outlets planned in the area, the situation is set to worsen.

The traffic situation is particularly bad on the stretch leading to Elante Mall, Centra Mall and City Emporium. Thousands make a beeline for these malls on weekdays, and the number doubles on weekends.

Poor planning, conversion policy to blame

While introducing the new conversion policy — for conversion of industrial sites into those used for commercial purposes — the UT administration did not plan accordingly. Contacted, an official, who does not wish to be named, agrees with this: “That is said to be the reason behind the present traffic situation.”

The administration had introduced ‘Chandigarh conversion of land use of industrial sites into commercial activity/services in Industrial Area Phases 1 and 2’ scheme vide notification issued on September 19, 2005. The scheme was initially floated for two years, but later extended by six months. The policy was withdrawn on March 18, 2008.

Industries Association of Chandigarh (IAC) president Arun Mahajan said the administration should have taken into account all these issue before going for the conversion policy. “The problem of traffic congestion is going to further compound after industrial plots, which have been converted, will be used for commercial activities,” said Arun Mahajan.

IAC in past two years has given several representations to the officials of the administration for addressing the traffic problem, but in vain.

Administration in know of problem

Though the administration has so far failed to address the problem, senior officials admit the situation is worrisome. They have been planning ways to de-congest the areas around the mall and hotels, says a source.

The UT Master Plan-2031 prepared by the administration has highlighted traffic problems in the area. The existing road network and parking areas are insufficient to handle the increased flow of traffic owing to large-scale commercial activity, especially malls and multiplexes that have resulted in traffic bottlenecks.

The master plan for the city has strongly recommended against any further enhancement of floor-area ratio (FAR) in Industrial Area. The recommendation has been made to prevent further strain on inadequate infrastructure, taking into consideration the shortage of space.

Water supply, sewerage system and power, have come under pressure due to non-augmentation of the existing set up prior to the implementation of conversion policy in 2005.

Contacted, UT chief architect Sumit Kaur said they were aware of the situation and had made recommendations in the master plan for finding long-term solutions to the problem. “We are also conducting a study to come out with measures aimed at ensuring smooth flow of traffic, which otherwise will worsen if no corrective measures are taken in time,” said Sumit Kaur.

With little room for widening of roads, the authorities are contemplating upon introducing one-way traffic for smooth flow of traffic.

Parking problem

With little parking space, visitors to these malls are forced to park their vehicles — both two-wheelers and four wheelers— on the road in front of hotels and malls. Due to unfettered parking on both sides of almost all roads near hostels and malls, the traffic flow is obstructed, leading to chaos. Chief architect Sumit Kaur said that they were in yje process of developing parking spaces, which will be handed over to the municipal corporation.

No cops to man traffic

Local police have not deployed cops near malls and hotels for ensuring smooth flow of traffic. Earlier this year, a delegation of Chamber of Chandigarh Industries (CCI) had informed UT inspector general of police (IGP) RP Upadhaya about traffic problems faced by industrialists.

Ways to decongest Industrial Area
Further widening of roads
2) One-way traffic
3) Deployment of cops
4) Installing traffic lights
5) Separate parking areas

First Published: Jun 27, 2013 10:57 IST