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Know about the Chandigarh sector where the Punjab CM resides

Home to the Punjab CM to this day since Kairon’s tenure and other Cabinet ministers, Sector 2 is one of the city’s most premium zones with properties spread across one to eight kanals (one kanal is equivalent to about 4,500 square feet).

punjab Updated: Apr 26, 2018 13:05 IST
Hillary Victor
Hillary Victor
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Chandigarh sector,Punjab CM,CMs
A green blanket covers most of the 94 houses in Sector 2, which are spread over 2 to 8 kanals. (Sanjeev Sharma/HT)

The pace of a city’s development can be gauged from the appreciation of its property prices and one of Chandigarh’s plushest zones, Sector 2, perhaps reflects this best. Two to eight-kanal properties, which now come with pricey Rs 25crore to Rs 50crore tags, cost Rs 6,000 to Rs 10,000 during the ‘50s and ‘60s.

One of the first VIP residents to move in here was Partap Singh Kairon, the first chief minister of Punjab province (then comprising Punjab, Haryana and Himachal), who occupied a huge government bungalow during his tenure from 1956 to 1964.

Surrounded by jungles, the sector had the occasional panther visiting the area and jackals kept residents awake at night with their howling.

Everyone knew everyone in the sector, walking freely across lawns into each others’ homes. Kairon too was often seen entertaining visitors in the gardens of his residence.

Home to the state CM to this day since Kairon’s tenure and other Cabinet ministers, Sector 2 is one of the city’s most premium zones with properties spread across one to eight kanals (one kanal is equivalent to about 4,500 square feet).

Most of the original property owners were Jat Sikhs from the Malwa and Majha regions. Since many of them were advocates, Kairon encouraged them to move here as the Punjab and Haryana High Court was close by. Big plots were allocated to them as the Punjab government thought they would bring along their domestic animals (read cattle) too!

This sleepy sector even today has not caught up with the pan-India population boom as just 500 people live here, with only 331 voters among them.

It’s a close-knit community as most of the families know each other and get together often. Some families have moved abroad, leaving caretakers to look after their properties.

Recounting his experiences of life in Sector 2, retired justice Ajit Singh Bains, a sprightly 96 and an avid golfer, says he bought a plot here for Rs 6,000 at the age of 38 in 1960. There were just three private bungalows here then amidst jungles. At night the whistles from trains passing by and the howling of jackals kept them awake.

Amarjit Singh Sidhu (80), an advocate, had to sell his Fiat to finance a plot, which then cost him Rs 6,000. “My family was in Bathinda and I wanted to buy house in Sector 2, against my father’s wishes, so I sold my car in 1962 and bought a plot, building my house in 1963. No one else wanted to move in here because it was a lonely place – and often panthers would stray into the sector because of the jungles all around,” he says.

“A four kanal house in 1955 cost Rs 10,000 when my grandfather bought it,” says Parmarath Singh Grewal (61). “When he opened a grocery shop in Sector 11 most of the people from our sector used to go to his shop. I remember just cycles and scooters being used then. Cars were hardly seen. After 8 pm there was complete silence in the area,” he recalls.

Sarabjeet Kaur Sekhon, 61, bought her massive bungalow – with as many as 32 rooms – in the late ’90s. “Many Punjab ministers had rented out rooms here before we moved in,” she says. Later it was demolished and rebuilt.

Despite the posh factor, the residents have had their share of challenges. Theft and snatching incidents occur frequently. As the sector is located in a low-lying area, parks get inundated when it rains. Also, with the municipal corporation mandating installation of tertiary treated (TT) water connections for properties of one kanal or more, residents often complain of foul-smelling water. It’s so bad that sometimes even breathing is difficult, they say.

First Published: Apr 26, 2018 13:05 IST