The visit of French President Francois Hollande and Prime minister Narendra Modi to the Rock Garden left Anuj Saini, son of Nek Chand, disappointed as he was not allowed to be present at the venue when the two leaders arrived.
Rock Garden, a sculpture garden, was created by Nek Chand, who died last year.
Saini, a landscaper and a member of the Rock Garden Society, was asked to leave the venue moments before the PM Modi arrived. Saini, who was involved with making the arrangements at Rock Garden, had a duty pass which was issued by the Chandigarh Administration.
Explaining his plight, Saini said that he was approached by one of the security officials deployed in the PM’s security and asked to leave the venue. “Official called Balwan Singh told me that I cannot stay here and asked me to leave. He asked one cop to escort me out of the garden,” said Saini.
For the past two weeks, Saini had been working hard for making arrangements for the visit. “I am feeling disappointed after making so much efforts for the arrangements,” he said.
UT director (tourism) Jatinder Yadav said that it was disappointing that Saini was not allowed. “We wanted him to attend the function as he had put in a lot of efforts. We had even requested Special Protection Group to allow him to stay for the event,” said Yadav.
This was the first visit by an Indian Prime Minister to the Rock Garden.
Sculptures and rag dolls made by Nek Chand during the last few years of his life were put on display at the garden. The garden spread in an area of over 40 acres has been completely built of industrial and household waste items. The garden is one of the key attractions of the city, which attracts around 5,000 tourists daily. Its founder Nek Chand had started the garden secretly in his spare time in 1957.