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Monday, January 18, 2021

Chandigarh’s civic projects exist only on papers, some dropped from the drawing board, others delayed repeatedly

Now, in December 2020 neither did Sector 17 become Times Square nor did the city get a shooting range.

Written by Hina Rohatki | Chandigrah | December 7, 2020 12:41:49 pm
People in Chandigarh gather to collect water from Nagar Nigam tank.

Civic projects in the city, which should have been underway currently or should be completed, seem to only exist on paper now, gathering dust.

City residents have been listening of projects that were announced with much fanfare, but never saw the light of day.

In December 2018, when the new UT Adviser had taken over, he had promised to speed up high-priority projects and wanted to transform Sector 17 as New York’s Times Square.

Sector 17 rejuvenation and urban park

Both, the makeover of sector 17 and an urban park were supposed to be completed by July 2018.

Land spread across 60 acres behind Neelam Cinema was to be developed into a park with a seating capacity of 2,500. An Amphitheatre, three open badminton courts, a food court and a children’s play area were planned. UT Administrator V P Singh Badnore had kicked off this project in 2017.

The makeover of Sector 17 plaza was to be completed within a year, at a cost of Rs 25 crore while urban park was to be completed in one year at a cost of Rs 11 crore.

Besides food courts and room for seating, it was supposed to have pro-biking and skateboarding events, and public screening of sports events on large screens.

However, residents still await a transformed Sector 17.

Shooting range Sarangpur
The UT Administration had planned an International shooting range, which was supposed to be developed at Sarangpur.

The Terminal Ballistics Research Laboratory (TBRL), a laboratory of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), had conducted a study last year and stated the project was not feasible, because the Punjab boundary of the Sarangpur village is within 275 metres of the range, which breaks international norms.

Following this, officials of the administration were asked to explore an alternative site for the range. UT Administrator’s pet project, it is yet to see the light of day.

Electric Buses
After lingering for years, the city got approval to get a fleet of 80 electric busses, only two months back.

The Centre sanctioned 80 electric buses for the UT under Phase-II of the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles in India (FAME India) Scheme.

However, residents have not been given any concrete date by which they may start commuting in these new buses. Round-the-clock water supply, marred by hiked rates while the city is yet to get a round-the-clock supply of water, rates were recently hiked by 200 per cent.

Though the additional water through Kajauli works increased the supply hours in Chandigarh, the round the clock supply seems like a distant dream.

The project was to begin in Manimajra on a pilot basis. The Smart City Company Limited claimed to have asked for a loan of Rs 550 crore from the French development bank, AFD. The Smart city limited has floated tender for round-the-clock water supply twice now.

Piped natural gas
Work in majority of the sectors was scheduled to be completed by March 2019, but only 22 sectors have been covered till now. In some areas, the work was supposed to be concluded in 2018. However, two years later, no connections have been given. The work of covering the city by laying underground piped natural gas (PNG) pipelines will now be completed by financial year 2021-22. This is the new deadline, as the company carrying out the work said that it progressed slowly due to the Covid-19 lockdown and unavailability of labour for some time.

Waste Segregation
The city’s civic body had made waste segregation mandatory in Chandigarh from October 11, 2019. However, the directive remained confined to the papers– and neither the residents, nor waste collectors segregate the waste.

Earlier this year, The National Green tribunal had directed the MC to ensure 100 per cent waste segregation in the city by June 2020.

Public bike sharing project
Since 2016, city residents have been hearing that the public bike sharing project will begin soon. The UT has now said that 100 cycles will be available at different stations from December 10. Officials said that the project will be completed only by 2021.

Smart parking: WAITING YET AGAIN
While parking rates have been doubled, the city is yet to see the smart parking project being implemented. The company launched a mobile app, which was supposed to help residents in booking their parking space but the app didn’t work. New contractors were brought in ten months ago with new terms and conditions, but the project is yet to be introduced.

Underground electricity wiring project
This project was to be of great use to residents, because power blackouts are a common occurrence during rains and dust storms. All the electricity wires were to be made underground, beginning from Sector 8. After hanging fire for the last three years, the work was allotted to two companies just last month.

While one company will do it in sectors 7,9,11 and 26 at a cost of Rs 8 crore, the other will work in Sector 8. When asked, UT Adviser said the “work is in progress.”

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