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AFTER BEING pulled up by the Centre for virtually causing a shutdown in the city during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the city in September, the Chandigarh Administration has announced that no public place will be closed and directions have been issued to ensure that no inconvenience is caused to general public during the visit by French President Francois Hollande to the City Beautiful on January 24.
Modi’s maiden visit to Chandigarh as Prime Minister was a fiasco, with schools being shut down, people being asked to remain indoors, and even the crematorium being inaccessible. Congress leaders were detained the previous night. The lockdown led to public outrage at the inconvenience caused. Modi publicly apologised to Chandigarh residents, over Twitter, and ordered a probe.
Talking to mediapersons on Friday, UT Adviser Vijay Kumar Dev said, “Our effort is that the entire system continues in a routine manner unless something is absolutely mandatory that it has to be controlled. Like in Rock Garden, visitors who are there will continue to be present.”
UT Home Secretary Anurag Aggarwal issued an order saying that during the VVIP visit, no inconvenience of any sort should be caused to the public by any rank staff of police, traffic, municipal corporation, engineering department or by the functionaries of any other department along their routes or at venues. The order reads: “The head of department(s) concerned and the venue incharge have been directed to take due care to ensure and sensitise the staff under them, failing which they will be held responsible. The head of department(s) will also be held responsible if any subordinate staff is found conducting his work in an inappropriate manner.”
Terming it a historic moment for Chandigarh, Dev said: “We have witnessed historic events in our lifetime… Germany that was divided came together. In our time, USSR disintegrated. For Chandigarh, this is a historic event. Its significance will be realised in days to come, in months to come, in years to come. The visit is after 50 years. The kind of atmosphere that has been created for Chandigarh, it is something you should all cherish. I would want all of us to become part of that pride story.”
Sharing the programme of French President, the Home Secretary said that the first site that the French President would visit would be the Rock Graden at 2.30 pm where he would meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Both the leaders would spend around 15 minutes in the garden from where they would go to the Capitol Complex. After spending 15 minutes there, Hollande and Modi would visit Government Museum and Art Gallery where some of the fossils found during excavation carried out by a joint team of Indian and French scientists at foothills of Shivalik would be put on display. The duo would reach Hotel Taj for the summit around 3.15 pm and would leave the city for Delhi after the event around 6 in the evening.