New Assembly building for Haryana: Proposal against Chandigarh’s master plan, says architects’ body

In September last year, citing lack of adequate space and disputes with Punjab, Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar had raised the demand for a separate Vidhan Sabha building with the Union home minister
(L-R) Sanjay Goel, chairman, IIA, Punjab Chapter; Surinder Bahga, former chairperson of Chandigarh-Punjab Chapter, and SD Singh, chairman, Chandigarh Chapter, addressing the media at Chandigarh Press Club on Wednesday. (Keshav Singh/HT)
(L-R) Sanjay Goel, chairman, IIA, Punjab Chapter; Surinder Bahga, former chairperson of Chandigarh-Punjab Chapter, and SD Singh, chairman, Chandigarh Chapter, addressing the media at Chandigarh Press Club on Wednesday. (Keshav Singh/HT)
Published on Jun 23, 2022 02:19 AM IST
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By, Chandigarh

The Indian Institute of Architects (IIA), Chandigarh Chapter, has expressed grave concern over the proposal to have a new Assembly building for Haryana in Chandigarh.

Senior functionaries of the body have written a letter to the Union home minister, chief ministers of Haryana and Punjab, and the UT administrator, stating that the proposed building is a clear violation of the city’s master plan and any such move will be nothing but tinkering with Chandigarh’s unique character.

In September last year, citing lack of adequate space and disputes with Punjab, Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar had raised the demand for a separate Vidhan Sabha building with the Union home minister.

Recently, Haryana speaker Gian Chand Gupta had said Chandigarh administration had agreed to allot a 10-acre site to the Haryana government for the building. Among the proposed sites are a plot on the right side of the road from the railway station light point to IT Park, a plot at IT Park and another opposite Kalagram in Manimajra.

At a press conference held at Chandigarh Press Club on Wednesday, SD Singh, chairman, IIA, Chandigarh Chapter, said the idea of making a new Vidhan Sabha will be against the Chandigarh Master Plan and may invite huge criticism at the international level, adding that they had requested the authorities to consider several other options in their letter.

Surinder Bahga, former chairperson of Chandigarh-Punjab Chapter, said Chandigarh’s Master Plan was originally prepared by Swiss-born French architect Le Corbusier. It was followed in letter and spirit by the then Punjab government. Later, the revised Chandigarh Master Plan-2031 was prepared by Chandigarh’s urban planning department and approved by the Chandigarh administration and Union home ministry.

“The proposal of building a separate Vidhan Sabha within the boundary of the city at a different location is in complete violation of both the original and revised master plans. It will destroy Corbusier’s concept of city planning,” Bahga said.

“Le Corbusier compared the Chandigarh plan with a human body where the Capitol Complex, consisting of the Secretariat, high court and Assembly hall, is the head of the human body. If Haryana will add a new Assembly Hall, Chandigarh will have two heads!” he said.

Suggesting alternatives, Sanjay Goel, chairman, IIA, Punjab Chapter, who was also present at the press conference, said, “The Haryana government can build a new capital city of its own on some suitable site located in the centre of Haryana, which is easily accessible to residents of the state. Another option can be that the Haryana government build only a Capitol Complex on the outskirts of some existing town.”

“Also, based on Haryana government’s factual data about space requirements, efficient space planning with some minor changes can be explored (at the existing site). A series of low-height annexes were added on the rear side of the high court to cope with its growing demands. Likewise, some additional low-height structure can be added on the rear side of the existing Assembly hall,” he said.

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