Fresh trouble for Tribune flyover project as Chandigarh urban planning dept says it didn’t give approval
The controversial Tribune flyover project has run into fresh trouble, with the Chandigarh urban planning department shooting off a letter to the engineering department, categorically stating that the project does not have its requisite “approval/concurrence”.
The letter comes in a rebuttal to the claims made by the technical committee, set up by the UT adviser on the directions of the Punjab and Haryana high court to look into project alternatives, in the minutes of its meeting.
The committee includes the UT chief engineer and chief architect besides chief engineers from Punjab and Haryana. The minutes were prepared by the engineering department. The meeting was held in compliance with HC directions to deliberate upon various issues raised in a representation against the construction of proposed flyover, rotary and underpass at the busy Tribune Chowk.
The letter comes in the backdrop of the technical committee rejecting all the flyover alternatives, and the UT administration deciding to go ahead with the original proposal. The administration is yet to submit the technical committee report in the HC. It is likely to be discussed in the administrator’s advisory council meeting scheduled on February 10.
Currently, the ₹183-crore project is in limbo. Even though the contractor was finalised, the construction couldn’t begin. In November 2019, the HC, while staying the removal of trees for the project’s construction, had asked the UT adviser to seek public views on its alternatives. The adviser, thereafter, constituted the technical committee.
‘Make necessary corrections’
To the committee’s claim that the proposal has been approved with the concurrence of the urban planning department, the letter states: “As per the office record (UT chief architect) no such formal approval/concurrence has been conveyed by the department of urban planning.”
Cornering the engineering department on its claims in the minutes of the committee meeting, the urban planning department questions: “However, if any such concurrence is available with you, it may be send to this office (UT chief architect) for information and further necessary action.”
Since the inception of the project, the urban planning department has raised several questions over its worthiness. However, in the minutes, the committee contends: “The objection/suggestions of department of urban planning have been duly considered and addressed.” Objecting these claims, the department has asked the engineering department to “make necessary corrections” in the minutes.
‘In violation of Master Plan’
The urban planning department has also refuted the committee’s claims that the project does not violate the Chandigarh Master Plan (CMP) 2031.
Minutes of the committee’s meeting read: “As such there is no violation of Master Plan and also appropriate action will be initiated by the department of urban planning for making necessary amendments in the master plan, if necessary.”
Asking the committee to correct it, the department has stated, “As per the notified CMP 2031, overbridges/flyovers are not recommended to be constructed in the entire city due to heritage considerations, since they impact the visual city space and cause inconvenience to non-motorised vehicles and pedestrians. Proposal of flyover in the city is also not as per the original concept of planning of Chandigarh and it will have impact on the entire city.”
It also reminded the engineering department about its earlier suggestion: “Proposal of Tribune flyover should also be taken up with the consultant concerned with respect to comprehensive mobility plan of the city.”
As per the engineering department, the project has been approved by the ministry of road, transport and highways.