Even as the UT Estate Office has ordered a city-wide inspection of commercial buildings for checking violation of bylaws, it has turned a blind eye to government buildings. Whether it is the buildings in the Capitol Complex, or the buildings of different wings of the administration, violations are common and obvious, but no action has been initiated to remove these.
In the Capitol Complex, the secretariat and Assembly complex are occupied by Punjab and Haryana. The two buildings, which are among the most renowned works of Le Corbusier, have witnessed several changes, both internal as well as on the facade.
Balconies adjoining the rooms in the secretariat have been covered, turning them into offices. In some cases, these are being used for storage. There have been instances when there was a fire in the secretariat, but the fire-fighting teams had a tough time entering the rooms due to obstruction by the covered balconies.
Renovations and alterations in the offices of the two chief ministers are done at regular intervals. In the Assembly building, wooden partitions have been raised in the main foyer. Changes in the material of the flooring, addition of partition walls, false ceilings in rooms and corridors, and painting of concrete surfaces have been carried out.
While several reports on the issue have been prepared, there has been little corrective action. Now when the UT Administration is aiming to get UNESCO heritage status for the Capitol Complex, the violations have recently been documented by teams from the Chandigarh College of Architecture.
A UT official, who admits that there are numerous violations in the two buildings, says that the governments of Punjab and Haryana do not always consult the administration while making the changes.
Among the other structures where violations abound is the Municipal Corporation building in Sector 17. Temporary partitions have been made on the second floor to create office space for the staff in violation of the building bylaws and the approved plans. Rooms have also been created in the basement, which was earmarked for parking of two- wheelers. Even in the building of the Chandigarh Housing Board in Sector 9, offices are functioning in the basement.
‘Written to Chief Secretaries’
UT Deputy Commissioner Mohammad Shayin said, “We have written to the Chief Secretaries of Punjab and Haryana for removal of violations in the buildings occupied by these states. We cannot simply enter these buildings and remove the violations. In some government buildings, the Estate Office has managed to get violations removed.”