The first Indian chief architect of the city, M N Sharma, stated that Chandigarh is facing immense burden on its infrastructure and defacement of its buildings, and governments which are violating laws.
Talking to Chandigarh Newsline, Sharma, who was part of the team of Le Corbusier, the creator of the city, says, “There isn’t enough water supply, electricity or essential services like education and health facilities. People from the adjoining areas are also depending on the city for their basic needs. While land is being sold in Punjab and Haryana for residential complexes, there is little emphasis being given on the development of infrastructure for the residents.”
Sharma added that it is the officials who are violating norms with impunity, and those who have to enforce laws, are not following these. Sharma opined that the first one to throw stones at Chandigarh was Mohali, thereby violating the
“The governor of Punjab cannot go against the Punjab government. Zoning regulations are not followed. Advertisement Control Act has been given a go-by. Now, New Chandigarh is being built. There would be additional burden on Chandigarh. So much liberty is being taken with the prevailing laws. When there is lawlessness, planning is affected,” said Sharma.
The city is at crossroads on the need for maintaining its heritage and moving forward. Talking about the clamour in the city for need-based changes by the residents, Sharma says that these are “greed-based changes”. The former chief architect adds, “Certain restrictions would have to be imposed. In a two-storeyed house that was allotted several years ago, if six families are staying now, there is no scope for further expansion. There is also a need for restricting the number of vehicles to the available space for parking.” He added that a plan should be made about commercial areas by the administration.
Sharma said that Chandigarh was the greatest experiment in the contemporary history of planning. However, at present, the defacement of buildings was going unchecked. The concrete in Sector 17 has been painted. There are hoardings present at most places.
“How do these go unnoticed? There is enough enforcement staff. Still all additions and alterations go unchecked. There is need to have deterrent so that no one will ever violate rules again,” says Sharma.