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Saturday, February 27, 2021

Master plan committee: Chandigarh Admin insisting on project despite urban planning dept’s objection

The committee said that the need of the hour is to focus on public transport, pedestrians and non-motorised transport.

Written by Hina Rohtaki | Chandigarh |
February 9, 2021 9:41:17 am
The committee also stated that the mango trees, which will be uprooted for construction of the flyover project, are part of Heritage Grade-I as they fall within Heritage Zone-1X.

Talking about the Sector 29 flyover project, the master plan committee wrote to UT Adviser, VP Singh Badnore specifying that the “Chandigarh Administration is insisting on going ahead with the project despite objections by the department of urban planning,” on Monday.

Raising objections against the flyover, the master plan committee stated, “It has come to our notice that the department of urban planning has pointed out that the proposed project is in contravention of the CMP-2031 and has not given its concurrence to the project. In fact, CMP-2031 explicitly says that flyovers are not recommended to be constructed in the entire city of Chandigarh. It astonishes us that even when the Department of Urban Planning has opposed the project, the administration is insisting on going ahead with the project. We are constrained to state that in a planned city like Chandigarh, the dismissal of the opinion of the Department of Urban Planning is a matter of grave nature, and any such practice could gravely impact the identity of Chandigarh.”

The committee also stated that the mango trees, which will be uprooted for construction of the flyover project, are part of Heritage Grade-I as they fall within Heritage Zone-1X.

“Being placed under Heritage Grade-l, they deserve the same protection as Sukhna Lake and Capitol Complex. CMP-2031 clearly states ‘No inter alia interventions be permitted either on exterior or interior of the heritage building or natural features unless it is necessary in the interest of strengthening and prolonging the life of the buildings/or precincts or any part or features thereof.’ Moreover, the mango orchards, which constitute ‘Open Spaces’ are inviolable and were declared so as to prevent them from being diverted to other land uses,” stated the committee.

The committee further added, “it has come to our notice that the project was got approved by a sub-committee of Chandigarh Heritage Conservation Committee (CHCC) and not by the CHCC,” adding, “we deem it important to apprise you that the mandate of the sub-committee of CHCC is to advise and assist the Department of Urban Planning in ‘handling minor issues of routine nature.’ Interfering and part-destruction of Heritage Grade-I is beyond the scope of the sub-committee of CHCC. We are shocked to see the preposterous mechanism adopted to bypass the necessary checks in the system to protect Heritage Grade-I.”

The committee further observed that the traffic woes of Chandigarh will not be alleviated through an isolated and ad hoc project at a randomly chosen junction.

“The solution to the traffic woes lies in a holistic Comprehensive Mobility Plan for Chandigarh Urban Complex, with emphasis on providing effective mass rapid transport. On the contrary, an ad hoc project such as the proposed project will only impede the implementation of Comprehensive Mobility Plan in the Tricity and is akin to digging the grave of a Comprehensive Mobility Plan. It is also important to realise that considering a substantial amount of traffic in the city of Chandigarh comes from neighbouring districts of SAS Nagar and Panchkula, any solution regarding the traffic issues will be possible only if the Tricity looks to tackle it together,” stated the committee.

It further said that the need of the hour is to focus on public transport, pedestrians and non-motorised transport.

“Therefore, it seems absurd that huge amounts of money are being spent on a private motor-vehicle centric project. Flyovers, in addition to attracting latent demand for more private vehicles, also do not reduce the congestion but merely push the traffic congestion to the next node. Urban planning experts across the world have deprecated the idea of flyovers as being outdated and ineffective in providing any effective solution to the traffic woes,” they observed.

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