High-ups talk of smart city while Chandigarh stinks
SKEWED PRIORITY UT administrator’s advisory council meeting spends hour an a half discussing Sector-17 rejuvenation, garbage disposal gets 10 minutespunjab Updated: Jul 15, 2017 11:16 IST
It was after seven months that the meeting of UT administrator’s advisory council (AAC) was held on Friday.
But during the three-hour meeting, half the time was spent on the presentation for revamp of Sector 17, while the solid waste management — which is the talking point in the city right now — was discussed for only 10 minutes, of which six minutes were spent on the presentation.
The meeting was chaired by UT administrator VP Singh Badnore and attended by member of Parliament (MP) Kirron Kher, UT adviser Parimal Rai and 38 of the total 58 members.
The third agenda discussed was regarding revival of Sukhna Lake.
Federation of Sector Welfare Associations Chandigarh (FOSWAC) chairman Baljinder Singh Bittu, who is also a council member, told HT that around hour and a half was spent on the presentation on revamping Sector 17, while the garbage issue got only 10 minutes.
Former Union minister Pawan Kumar Bansal said though the administration prepared a good plan for Sector 17, but the solid waste problem could have been given proper time. “Members should have been allowed to speak on the issue as it concerns everyone,” said the former city MP.
Harmohan Dhawan, another council member and a former minister, said the municipal corporation is apathetic towards the garbage issue. “I have no idea why are they talking about smart city,” he said.
- Municipal commissioner B Purushartha made the presentation on solid waste management. During the six-minute presentation, he discussed the dumping ground issue and suggested ways to ensure it does not become toxic.
- The MC chief told the council members that the National Green Tribunal has granted Jaypee Group 90 days to ensure proper disposal of the garbage, failing which the plant will be handed over to the municipal corporation. Kirron Kher said Jaypee Group was not maintaining the plant, because of which residents in the area complain of foul smell.
- She said many are also suffering from skin diseases, but nothing was being done. “I will take up the issue with the Punjab government, so that they can process our garbage at the plant coming up in Dera Bassi,” said UT administrator VP Singh Badnore.
WHAT WILL CHANGE AT SECTOR 17
Architectural Studio, Delhi, which has been engaged as a consultant to rejuvenate Sector 17 gave a detailed presentation to revamp the city centre under the smart city project.
The representative said footfall in Sector 17 has fallen by 50% due to malls.
As per the proposal, which has been cleared by the Chandigarh heritage committee,
the deputy commissioner’s office will be shifted next to Hotel Shivalik View and the vacant plot opposite the multilevel parking lot will be utilised for institutional buildings.
The existing DC office designed by Pierre Jeanneret will be converted into a National Gallery of Modern Art with an amphitheatre in front of it.
It has also been planned to build an urban park on the rear of Neelam Theatre. Also there will be seating within the Plaza to be used for public screening of sport events on large screens. Concerts will also be organised here.
A convention centre is planned opposite the old district courts complex. A habitat centre spread over eight acres in front of Hotel Taj is also on the cards besides retrofitting of buildings, appbased golf carts for internal movement and construction of an 11-storey building that Le Corbusier had planned.
MEMBERS FOR NO-VENDING ZONE
Most advisory council members were in favour of declaring Sector 17 a no-vending zone.
Former minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, however, said the vendors are an integral part of the city’s economy and should be supported.
“We cannot make it an island of affluence,” he said. “A lot of people visit Sector 17 with their children. Some of them even come for skating, and they are looking for affordable eatables, which only street vendors can provide. Everyone cannot afford to go to a food court. There is a need to provide the vendors hygienic place to work.”
During a presentation, conservator of forests Santosh Kumar said siltation was not a threat to Sukhna. He said according to various surveys, the lake is capable to survive for next 75 years.
Figures of the past few years were shared, wherein the conservator projected that Sukhna being a man-made lake has dried up even before but was eventually filled up as soon as the city was lashed with 1,100-mm rain.
Kirron Kher after seeing the presentation said it should be ensured that the weed is completely removed.
The administrator advised a high-level committee be constituted of various members to ensure that solutions are implemented. For this, visits can be made to other cities and countries to learn their process of preservation, he said.
BJP CHIEF FOR POWERS TO UT ADMINISTRATOR
During the advisory council meeting, Chandigarh BJP chief Sanjay Tandon moved a resolution for restoring the powers of UT administrator in relation to decisions on land issues in Chandigarh.
In 2012, the Union ministry of home affairs (MHA) issued notification, directing that the UT administrator can sell the land at market price, but cannot slash the rates. Tandon said the notification was affecting allotment of flats to employees besides housing projects of societies.
“We want powers of the UT administrator be restored,” he said. The resolution will be sent to the MHA.