Turning a deaf ear to the strong resistance from heritage experts, the Chandigarh Administration has proceeded with the construction of a map of the city in Sector 17– at a whopping cost of Rs 90 lakh. The map’s construction on the ground in Sector 17 has further surprised the city’s architects.
A senior official said, “The map witnessed opposition by a lot of architects. They did not approve of it. Infact, they had even said that for such a hefty amount, it was not going to serve the purpose also. Moreover, it would be disrespectful to have the map of the city on the floor, with people walking over it.”
He added, “Then it was also pointed out by the architect body that there are so many walls around and a map can be beautifully displayed there. They can illuminate it as well. Will it serve the purpose when someone is trying to locate something and so many people are walking over it.”
“In Rs 90 lakh, the whole of Sector 17 can be renovated. Moreover, we can have nice dustbins and benches all around with this humungous amount,” the official said.
Meanwhile, the UT Engineering officials said that the map on the floor will be illuminated with lights and it will serve as a centre of attraction. “Since people have to refer to different locations to look for places in Chandigarh, having all together in just one map would be beneficial for tourists and visitors,” the official said.
City residents criticise move
Vinod Vashisht, Convener of the City Forum of Residents Welfare Organisations (CFORWO) said, “For the last couple of years, the Administration has been holding idea generation competitions for the betterment of the city by inviting suggestions from its residents and other stake holders, which is good. But, having a map in Sector 17 plaza as one of the new tourist attraction is a surprise element for most of the city residents. Not sure whether even Chandigarh Smart City Department was consulted or not for such a beautification project.”
“No one from the Administration ever consulted us in the process of the Chandigarh Map Project in Sector 17 plaza. The area in front of Neelam Theatre is lying in dereliction for the last six month due to the construction work. It is heavily affecting the nearby businesses due to restricted movements and hindrances in the paths of city shoppers and tourists. Traders and businessmen of the areas are giving up their plans from undertaking further development due to the lack of visibility,” said Neeraj Bajaj, President, Sector 17 Business Promotion Council.
City-based architect Shilpa Das said “Is this part of the Revitalization Plan that was prepared in 2017 I haven’t seen any banners or display to inform the public of how this new intervention will affect the existing use of this important public space of the city. The Chandigarh Administration must adopt smart communication with its residents for their understanding and confidence, it seems to be at an all time low.”
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines