Vox Populi

A series of extravagant and rash projects and actions of Chandigarh Administration as well as the municipal corporation in the recent past have baffled everyone.

Written by Express News Service | Published:September 29, 2013 2:13 am

Where’s the ‘well-planned’ modern city?

A series of extravagant and rash projects and actions of Chandigarh Administration as well as the municipal corporation in the recent past have baffled everyone. The transition from the Capital Project to the present day UT Administration has landed the City Beautiful into a chaotic,garbage-littered entity instead of a well-planned modern city. The easiest scapegoat found by the Administration is in the so-called stupendous increase in the population than what the city was planned for. This may be one of the reasons but its effects should have been anticipated by the town planners and civic administration. The city was planned to be a green city with exotic trees lining the roads and green belts developed into well-maintained parks. However,the paving of the road berms with tiles has choked the trees from their much-needed water during rains and providing safe breeding place for termites. The adverse effect of this so-called beautifying project was amply visible in the large number of uprooted trees during the recent squall. The other cause of this devastation is that most of these trees are mercilessly pruned by the untrained workers of contractors employed by the electricity department to safeguard their power lines from short circuiting. These grotesque looking remains of the unbalanced trees are highly susceptible in withstanding the force of a squall. No city in the world keeps on increasing the width of the roads to accommodate increasing the number of vehicles. For road space management methods during peak hours,they have resorted to strengthening the public transport system and levy of peak hour charges for entry of vehicles in the congested spaces of cities. Unlike Chandigarh,all road repair works are executed at night with least disruption to the normal flow of traffic. Upward tariff revision of electricity and water tariffs at a frequency of six months takes place without the matching improvement in the quality of the service. The earlier 24 hours water supply has been gradually scaled down to just 4 hours in the morning and evening at low pressure reaching the first floor only. The water quality is not potable. The same situation is with the electricity. Tripping of the transformers and power cuts are blamed on the ever-increasing load demand. The potential of the much-talked-about scheme of harnessing solar power for producing a portion of household electricity requirement is yet to be implemented. Instead,the orders for installing solar water heaters on the roof tops have been issued without realising that how water is boosted to the third floor level? The Administration and MC must improve their act to ensure that the city of Chandigarh must retain its title of “City Beautiful”.

Col K D Pathak (Retd),CHANDIGARH

De-recognition of student bodies a welcome proposal

The write up in the Chandigarh Newsline (Sept 29) talks about de-recognising student organisations on the Panjab University campus from the next session. I heartily welcome the suggestion. Year after year this election chaos is played out with escalating expenses and ridiculous tamasha. We sow the seeds for centrestage politics right at this level and at a venue where academics should be the prime focus. What is the need to be introduced to the downside of politics at this impressionable age? Positions of responsibility can be nominated and further contested without polarising the entire student fraternity,not to mention,getting them to expect freebies. It can be done,and indeed,if we care for the future of our country,the change must come about,starting at this level. The onus is now on the academicians and administration of Panjab University to seriously follow through with this sensible proposal.

Dr Anuradha Khanna,PANCHKULA

MC responsible for parking woes in Sector 17,/b>

This refers to the news report,“Sector 17 retailers face parking and business woes,approach MC” (Chandigarh Newsline,September 26). It is sad to note that the Sector 17 shop owners in the vicinity of Gurdev Studios are facing parking and business woes due to a multi-level parking that is being constructed. As the area around the construction site has been cordoned off,the customers are facing difficulty in parking their vehicles in the absence of a temporary arrangement there. Even the shopkeepers are losing business due to this problem. The retailers there have proposed to the MC for allowing the empty space between the MC office and the Reserve Bank of India may be allowed as the temporary parking site till the multi-level parking lot is completed in 18 months as per municipal Commissioner V P Singh’s discloser. But it is not understood why this problem of “temporary parking” was not thought of by the MC at the time of preparing the details of the of construction of the multi-storied paring lot. Had it been done before,there would not have been any resentment among the retailers,and also in the public minds. Eighteen months is too long a period and who knows how much extended time will be sought by the contractors to complete the work due to increase in costs of the construction material and the weather woes? The retailers’ request of temporarily utilising the space between the MC office and the RBI building for parking purposes must be acceded to by the MC and even approved by the Administration.

R K Kapoor,CHANDIGARH

Admn lacking in preparation for calamities

This refers to the recent thunderstorm that hit the Tricity with the wind blowing at a speed of 105 kms per hour on Sunday evening,resulting in uprooting of a large number of trees and electrical poles and causing trouble for its residents. The city traffic came to a standstill owing to falling of trees on the roads and very strong winds also caused snapping of electrical wires almost everywhere. The entire city went haywire as various authorities were taken aback by the sudden impact of the thunderstorm with hapless residents groping in the dark. It took the authorities concerned several days to bring the situation under control. It thus becomes imminent that all electrical overhead wires should be put underground to avoid their frequent snapping and also the possibilities of accidents taking place as a result thereof. It is strongly felt that a one-time capital expenditure likely to be incurred for under-grounding of all overhead electrical wires in the city would obviate the spending of recurring expenses presently being incurred for repairing the snapped wires very often. It has been experienced that as soon as a thunderstorm strikes the Tricity,the power supply is immediately switched off by the authorities and thus,the residents are frequently put to inconvenience,further foxed with “no response” from the complaint centres. All the roadside trees should be regularly pruned by cutting their over-spread branches. It is seen that several such big trees obstruct the flow of street lights on to their underneath,roads thereby defeating the very purpose of having the working street lights during the night. It goes without saying that a stitch in time saves nine. The ball is now in the court of Chandigarh Administration and it ought to take timely and properly planned action in the matter to minimise the nature’s onslaughts.

S K Gupta,CHANDIGARH

Salute to the Army man who made the supreme sacrifice

With reference to the news item “Slain Lt Col cremated with full honours”: he was a brave and talented man who rose up to the occasion and discharged his duties for his motherland by making the supreme sacrifice. He fought till his last breath and never gave up. The country salutes the brave officer. I also request the media to be at the side of the family always and offer help in the time of need.

Arshdeep Singh,MOHALI

State helpless,now onus on HC in case of Dera chief

The Panchkula police has moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court seeking its permission for allowing head of a religious sect in Haryana,who is currently facing serious charges before CBI Special Court,so as to continue him to depose via video-conferencing instead of his personal appearance on coming October 5 as ordered by the Court recently because it is an imminent fear of the district police that his visit to the city would bring the smooth flow of traffic in the city to a standstill owing to his large sea of devotees laying siege to the city. Without prejudice to what stand the HC takes on the issue,there can’t be a second opinion that no one,howsoever influential or powerful he or she,is above the law of land and as such has got no right to hold the public order maintained in civil society to ransom. Equally important is the fact that police can’t be allowed to shirk the due duties and responsibilities as assigned on their shoulders by various laws just because they apprehend that strict enforcement of the same would result in spread of anger or hatred amongst a particular group of persons against the state who otherwise want to exercise their fundamental right so as to assemble peacefully and without arms. After all,one must remember that such a right is also subjected to proper upkeep of public order. The stand of the Panchkula police is highly condemnable as such admission of helplessness on the part of state machinery results in erosion of faith and trust of common man in powers of state authorities. Amidst the bitter fact that such law enforcement agencies actually work on diktats of the ruling elite rather than on rulebooks,it is highly imperative that the judiciary takes a strong stand against such prevailing sorry state of affairs,which otherwise tend to disseminate wrong signals to society. The High Court must clearly and strictly instruct the Baba to urge his devotees to avoid gathering in large numbers during his court hearings lest it would be regarded as a contempt of court coupled with directing the state authorities to ensure strict compliance of the same. The message should be clear — law should be allowed to take its course. Similarly,certain guidelines ought to be framed by HC so as to regulate similar kinds of agitations and protests in the region so that a common man is not at the receiving end. At a time,when state governments hesitate in taking such stern steps perhaps owing to avoidance of annoying any particular community or group which may affect their petty vote banks,the onus is on the Judiciary to stem the rot. Pertinent that in certain states,concerned High Courts had in the past had declared similar kinds of Bandhs,Hartals etc which affect general public as illegal. It is high time that our HC too emulates them and does what the state executive has failed to too hitherto.

Hemant Kumar,AMBALA CITY

More open space for functions needed in the city

The residents of Chandigarh have a lot of expectations from the Mayor to provide proper amenities like regular water supply,sanitation and other infrastructure to everyone in the the city. The decision of the municipal corporation to allow marriages and other parties at Circus Ground Sector 17 is welcome,as it has made convenient to those who wanted to celebrate large gathering of marriages in open lawns in the city. However,this space is not enough for the demand and more open areas are required to be selected with the basic facilities for holding marriage and other functions. No provision for such facility has been mentioned in the new Master Plan. If the municipal corporation takes imitatives to choose a few more open spaces in the city,it will benefit the citizens as well as the revenue of the corporation will increase and the collection of local taxes,excise and service tax may multiply in future.

Sukhpal Singh,CHANDIGARH

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