Lee Corbusier’s vision of a ten-storeyed building in the plaza and the Metro route has been ‘ignored’ in the revival plan of Sector 17 Plaza, according to a nominated councillor who pointed it out to the UT Administration and the Municipal Corporation.
In a note sent to the authorities in Chandigarh, nominated councillor Surinder Bahga, who is also an architect, pointed out that the area where an underpass is proposed to connect the Rose Garden with the plaza, is the route for the Metro.
Questioning whether the proposed construction would be dismantled later, after realising about Metro, Bahga said, “The proposed route of the Chandigarh Metro is passing through Sector 17 as shown in Master Plan document of the UT department of urban planning. It raises questions on how the consultant is proposing to develop areas behind Neelam Cinema when it is proposed as a route for Metro. There is a proposal to have an underpass to connect Rose Garden and Sector 17. At the same time, the Metro route is again passing through the proposed location of underpass and why haven’t the consultants mentioned about it,” said Bahga.
In his detailed note, the nominated councillor further added that Corbusier had planned a 10-storeyed office tower opposite the General Post Office.
“In 1999, the Administration had floated the idea of constructing it to complete the look of Sector 17 Plaza. The name of Bombay-based architect the late Charles Correa came up for designing this tower. He wanted the administration to relax its façade control. But it was not agreed upon and the project was shelved at that stage. In the present proposal, there was no mention of that building. Why not build that and make it a museum or use it for any other purpose. It will be better if we complete that building. It can have hotel/convention centre/museum or all in one, rather than constructing new buildings and fiddling with Corbusier’s vision,” he added.
The nominated councillor also raised the heritage issue. “During meetings held with office of chief Architect UT, when architectural design of multi-level parking was being finalised, it was emphasised that there is need to go three-storeys underground, otherwise heritage of Sector 17 will be sacrificed. We agreed and finalised it accordingly. But now there are plans to construct new hotel, convention centre and DC office building on back side areas of Neelam cinema. May I ask if this does not disturb heritage status of Sector 17?”
The parking issue was also highlighted. Bahga said after closing the Sahib Singh and Empire store parking lots, there will be shortage of space for around 700 cars.
One of the major issues in Sector 17 is shortage of parking space. “We have 21 parking lots which can accommodate 5,500 cars against the requirement of 7,000 cars. That means there is a shortage of space for 1,500 cars already. After the closure of parking lots, there will be additional shortage. Consultants have not given serious thought to it,” added the councillor.