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HT Special | Reviving Chandigarh Sector 17: 94 safai workers, but no safai

The City Beautiful has been attracting visitors not only for its unique architecture but also for its clean and green image. But this image is beginning to get dirty, especially in its iconic Sector 17.

punjab Updated: Mar 02, 2017 12:59 IST
Monica Sharma
Monica Sharma
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Reviving 17,Chandigarh Sector 17,VP Singh Badnore
The city centre is often littered with garbage left by visitors. It’s also ill maintained with broken tiles and pools of dirty water.(Sanjeev Sharma/HT)

The City Beautiful has been attracting visitors not only for its unique architecture but also for its clean and green image. But this image is beginning to get dirty, especially in its iconic Sector 17.

And traders blame this lack of cleanliness and upkeep for the waning fortunes of this central sector. So grubby is the sector that UT administrator VP Singh Badnore lost his cool after visiting it last month, and roundly rebuked the officers for not getting the area cleaned up.

But his words seem to have fallen on deaf ears as the sector is as unclean as ever. These days visitors to the plaza are greeted by garbage littered in the parking. Overflowing bins, broken tiles, and loose electricity wires in the corridors are other eyesores that spoil the sheen of this sector.

This is despite the fact that Chandigarh is vying for the “clean city” title under the Swachh Survekshan – 2017. The traders say the authorities do try to come up with a strategy to make the plaza attractive, but other parts of the sector have been neglected for long.

Enter the sector from the parking near the MC building, and you are greeted by garbage. The tiles too are broken and the road is uneven. As you near the Neelam Theatre, overflowing garbage bins emit a stench, and the walls are stained with betel marks and graffiti, not expected in the heart of the city.

Garbage heaps are a common sight in Panchkula. (Karun Sharma/Hindustan Times)
Mission Clean Sweep
  • Impose a fine on the litterbugs. Give this power to a few traders in every lane.
  • Install more garbage bins so that visitors don’t need to hunt for them
  • Ninety-four safai karamcharis is a lot, but they need to be given areas of responsibility and then supervised.
  • Like in Singapore, there should be a provision wherein visitors should be allowed to rate an area for cleanliness.
  • Keeping in view the footfall, the sector should be cleaned twice a day (morning and evening).

Take a leisurely stroll down the plaza, and you reach the fountain stuffed with wrappers and other waste. A few metres ahead is the bridge market, which doesn’t seem to have seen a broom for a long time. The floor tiles are mostly broken. Pits and potholes are commonplace as you approach the banks and shops in Sector 17 C.

The scene in Sector 17 A and B is even more dismal. The stretch near the bridge appears as if it has never been cleaned. The area behind the showrooms and shops is being used as an open urinal, and the stench is unbearable. The bank square in Sector 17 is no different. The garbage piled up in the parkings is a common sight.

Jatin Wadhwa, a Sector 17-based entrepreneur, laments that the vendors sitting in the plaza litter the place. “The bins too are few and very small in size as a result of which garbage spills out.”

Echoing him, Rakhi Jain, a regular visitor to Sector 17, said, “I have seen this place deteriorating with time. It appears as if the most sought after market area is hardly cleaned up.”

Traders say the municipal corporation needs to install more bins in the market and the visitors too need to be more responsible.

“They should not litter the sector,” said a trader, complaining that people have a quick snack and leave behind a trail of garbage.

The safai karamcharis need to clear the bins more than twice a day and the parking areas also needs to be cleaned regularly.

Both traders and residents suggested that a fine be imposed for littering in Sector 17.


First Published: Mar 02, 2017 12:52 IST