Constitute planning board for development
The exclusive series on Tata’s housing project Camelot has jolted all the residents of Chandigarh. In 1959, Jawaharlal Nehru said, "Chandigarh hits you on the head, and makes you think." Camelot did the same. When Chandigarh was planned by Le Corbusier in 1952, the Periphery Control Act and the Edict of Chandigarh were formulated to preserve the sanctity of the city. Therefore, the housing project is in gross violation of the Chandigarh Master Plan. Unless immediate and stern steps are taken jointly by the Chandigarh Administration and the governments of Punjab and Haryana, undirected growth will continue. It is also our responsibility to meet the objectives of the Edict by becoming the custodians of the City and preserving it from the fancies of the individuals.
To save Chandigarh and its periphery area, a central governing body should be formulated and all the controls of its development should rest with it only. A board like Chandigarh Capital Regional Planning Board can be created as unified law and unified agency for planning and development of Chandigarh.
Don’t allow highrise buildings
The government should not allow high-rise buildings to come up because these will mar the beauty of the Shivalik hills. Greed does not have limits. Everyone knows that most of the owners of these flats will not reside there; they will sell for profit. Black money is playing with the economy of our motherland. How long such nefarious activities will continue in our country?
AJAIB SINGH SEKHON,
Public must stand up
The public awareness campaign launched by The Tribune deserves appreciation. It may be seen that how self-centered are our leaders and politicians, and how the eminent politicians irrespective of their affiliation to different political parties and ideologies belonging to ruling and Opposition parties have joined hands together and united for their self-interest and personal gains, setting aside the interests of the region, state and the nation.
All the prominent citizens and public in general must stand united to vehemently oppose and thwart their planning to raise mega structures in the vicinity of Chandigarh, which will eventually mar its beauty and adversely affect the skyline. The public must take strict notice of the people involved in this ‘scam’ and punish them with the power of the their ballot at the appropriate time, so that no one may dare to play with the interests of the State.
S. P. BASSI,
Initiate CBI investigation
This project is like the Adarsh
building scam, where a public road was allotted to a society for
building six-storey residential flats. Punjab Revenue and Urban
Development department babus, in connivance with the original
society, got the ownership rights transferred to Tata Housing
Development Company (THDC) in Kansal and changed the terms of the
Dr SURINDER GUPTA,
City will lose its charm
The Tribune has done a commendable job by exposing the organised nexus, so deviously contemplated by the unscrupulous politicians of different hues.
I have a special fascination for the City having trodden on its walks, paths and avenues during the sleepy, sulky conservative 70s as a student on the PU campus. I have spent the best part of my life in Himachal Pradesh, but my bond with Chandigarh has remained intact. In fact, it is a great getaway for me during breaks and holidays to savour its charms. Therefore, to see Chandīgarh falling victim to the rich and powerful politicians’ dirty shenanigans to rob it of its aesthetics and charm by high-rises is shocking and disgraceful. Hats off to The Tribune for taking the lid off!
SUBHASH C. SHARMA
The plan of this high-rise township, as agreed upon by Punjab politicians, is at the cost of pleasant ambience of the city. The word "beautiful" will lose its charm if the envisaged project is allowed to take off in the vicinity of the City Beautiful. Serving the nation and its citizens should be the prior responsibility of politicians, who are the representatives of public. Thus, our representatives need to ask a question to themselves: Are they serving the nation and its citizens or themselves?
Highrise towers against the basic spirit
The Tribune deserves to be congratulated for its relentless and bold crusade to bring into the light the misdeeds of those who are making the country hollow and weak by their nefarious designs. The latest revelation about the high-rise towers to be build by the THDC with the kind help of bigwigs speaks about the greed and selfishness of the so-called nation builders who are united to raze the glory of the City Beautiful to the ground by raising tall towers, which are very much against the basic spirit of the city. We the well-wishers of the city are always with your esteemed paper to keep the torch burning to remove the injustice and rule of jungle from society.
S .S. MINHAS,
It will spoil ambience
I am one of those fortunate ones who have seen the era of 1950-60 when Chandigarh was slowly blooming into a dream city later to be called as ‘City Beautiful’, known as such throughout the world. Now, I am the rueful witness to the steady deterioration of city leading to be appropriately called as ‘urban slum’. The planned skyscraper monsters around the northern periphery of the city would further contribute towards choking of the ambience of city.
All these years, Punjab has been a strong claimant of Chandigarh as the rightful Capital of the state. All the past and present legislators are aware of this political demand and the firm-stand of all political parties. In view of this stated position, would Punjab like to get back an urban slum further choked by the multi-storey monsters? I hope that the sanction of building skyscrapers is not out of vengeance, since with every passing year, the possibility of getting back Chandigarh as Punjab’s Capital is becoming remote.
Col K. D. PATHAK (retd),
Kudos to The Tribune
There is more to the TATA housing ‘scam’ than what meets the eye. This is well illustrated by the deafening silence on the issue. Kudos to The Tribune.
Loss to nature lovers
When visitors from around the world, particularly students of architecture, come to witness the Capitol Complex, a creation of Le Corbusier, our heads rise with pride. We feel proud to be belonging to the City Beautiful. But the new developments and the upcoming of highrise buildings will have adverse impact on the environment of the city. Apart from disturbing the flora and fauna of the area, it will also have adverse impact on the catchment area of the already-dying Sukhna Lake. The green hillocks will be denuded. The city naturists will no longer be able to enjoy the natural scenic beauty. The picturesque views of the Capital Complex and Sukhna Lake against the backdrop of lush green hillocks will no longer be available. The area will cease to catch the eye of the nature photographers and film- and documentary-makers.
Garg, a freelance nature photographer,
Keep up the pressure
Thanks for unearthing the unholy nexus of land mafia, town planners and elected representatives who have acted with impunity to twist every law on land to achieve their nefarious aims. More shocking is the reply of these people justifying their claims and pretending to be innocent despite piling evidence.
While Panchkula in Haryana is excelling itself by coming up with better town planning and better management, Punjab has tried to exploit every avenue to ruin the periphery of Chandigarh. Illegal constructions under the tutelage of powerful politicians around Chandigarh is too obvious for even blind to notice. I hope that the media and public would keep up the pressure to bring these politician to justice and avoid environmental and architectural faux pas.
Dr C. P. S. HUNDAL,
MLAs/MPs must avoid profiteering
MLAs/MPs should stay where they can serve their constituencies diligently. For owning residences, they must avoid real estate profiteering: four-bedroom flat plus Rs 82.5 lakh each. The TATA group is exploiting the property boom here to pocket hefty commercial gains by constructing 1,734 units against 200 required. Both politicians and THDC are committing unethical acts of ruining the City Beautiful for profit.
Built as its Capital, the Punjab government was signatory to the planning, development, and preservation of Chandigarh. Conceived by Pandit Nehru as "symbolic of the nation’s faith in the future", Chandigarh stands built as World City by Le Corbusier’s genius. The Statute of Land, Edict, and Periphery Control Act are instruments of city’s planning and preservation. Everyone conscious of its universal heritage value must fight to save the city from ruination. If the honourable court saves the city, it will be an enlightened judiciary’s priceless gift to the Indians.
Dr S. S. BHATTI,
'Camelot': A threat to City Beautiful
Chandigarh is the first planned city of India. It is known for its cleanliness, green cover and picturesque. Now, a fresh threat to the City Beautiful’s beauty has come in the form of Tata’s housing project "Camelot". If this project is given a green signal, the scenic beauty of Sukhna Lake, Capitol Complex and Shivalik range will be destroyed. Ratan Tata, tof Punjab are also coming in its support. This is a clear example of the selfish and greedy nature of the present-day politicians and their lack of social responsibility. Sohe CEO of Tata Industries, is known for his public-friendly image, but this particular project has put a question mark on his image. Not only the Tatas but many politicians , I would like to appeal to all the people who are behind this project to shelve this project or shift its location somewhere else. We the residents of Chandigarh are proud of our city’s beauty, so please don’t spoil our heritage and help us in conserving it.
Advocate Nimarpreet Sidhu,
Are you listening, Mr Tata?
Recently, Ratan Tata, chairman of the Tata group, had admitted that he did not pay Rs 15-crore bribe to start his proposed domestic airlines, saying that he would prefer to sleep with a free mind of not paying any bribe to start a new venture. But what is one of his group companies doing now? THDC is openly paying more than Rs 100 crore, in addition to flats to the politicians, to let their project through. Now, what does Mr Tata has to say on this deal?
Moreover, it also shows the greed and dirty politics of our present-day politicians. Though they claim themselves to be honest and clean like their white kurtas, here every one can see what they have accepted in lieu of giving this project a go-ahead. Does that not entitle them to be prosecuted under corruption Acts? Even the Opposition went hand in glove with the ruling party in the process.
Prevention is better than cure
The pen is mightier than the sword. I believe that The Tribune’s sincere efforts will help nip the evil in the bud, thereby saving Chandigarh from being ruined from a handful of politicians. Since prevention is better than cure, the city needs to be preserved and the housing project should immediately be dropped.
Businessmen may think of profit-making, but the legislators who vow to represent and protect the innocent masses must realise that they are elected by the same masses and therefore, must not indulge in corrupt practices at the cost of the nation. Let our City Beautiful be saved and the resources be used in a sustainable manner so as to give benefit to the future generation also.
Asst Prof SUNAINA,
Residents should sign appeal
I strongly feel that appealing to the moral conscience of ‘greedy’ persons will never bring any fruitful result. Let the Chandigarhians join together to sign an appeal to Ratan Tata to tell his company not to go ahead with this project. Recently, Ratan Tata said that he had decided to drop his proposal to start a new airline company because he was asked to pay bribe to get the go-ahead. I am, therfore, sure he would respond positively.
GEETA B. SINGH,
Project will encourage land mafia
City residents of all ages must raise their voice against this housing project. Earlier, I was in Delhi and had shifted to Chandigarh 10 years back. I loved the city, bought a flat and living here since then. I have seen so many changes in the City Beautiful; so, please let the city be beautiful and not ‘Beauty-Fool’. Moreover, the city has already started suffering from the haphazardly growth started during the last few years. This project will certainly encourage the land mafia in the region which will further make the city worst and very expensive in the country.
Don’t put wildlife in danger
Tata’s project has been allowed to come up within the 16 km green buffer zone in the sheer violation of the New Capital Periphery Control Act. Construction here will not only escalate the soil erosion but also increase silt deposition in Sukhna Lake, as it is an ecologically fragile area. The project is also adjacent to the Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary, therefore, the high density of population as well as vehicular traffic will affect the wildlife. Besides, both the Naya Gaon Master Plan and the Jurong Master Plan for greater Mohali area development had specifically noted that no high-rise buildings could be built in the foothills of Shivaliks.
RAVI CHANDER GARG,
Salute the ‘wisemen’!
Our "poor, innocent public servants" have done no "wrong". Forgetting all their political differences, first they formed a co-operative society, purchased land at cheap rates for constructing houses for themselves and then made a "fair deal" with Tata Housing Development Company to build high-rise towers. In return, they ensured themselves four-bedroom flats plus a big amount of cash to lead a luxurious life in future. Public must salute these "wisemen", as someone has rightly said: "Wohi quatil, wohi mukhbir, wohi munsif thera; aqriba mere karen khoon ka dawa kispar?" ("He is the murderer, the informer and the judge; O’ brothers, whom we sue for the murder?")
J. S. VARMA,
A case of brazen ‘greed’
The Tribune has done a great service to its readers by bringing out the details of the beneficiaries of the Tata housing project, which has been allegedly allowed to get through by bending certain provisions of law. If allowed, the project would destroy the unique character of Chandigarh. The list demonstrates how there is a complete consensus between the ruling combine and the Opposition at any point of time when the matter involves fattening the pockets of all political leaders across the board. The drama of lodging of cases of corruption on some issues is, in fact, meant to engage the public for full term of the government, with clear cut understanding that nobody will get harmed.
This is a case of brazen ‘greed’ by the elected representatives of the people in a land, where there are examples of persons like Giani Kartar Singh who owned only the five symbols of Sikhism and a wooden bed after having remained a minister. The path shown by these saint politicians of Punjab is sought to be completely erased from public memory by modern politicians and no doubt, the poor are feeling more and more insecure due to shrinking contribution of the government to provide affordable housing, healthcare, etc. Therefore, aren’t we weakening the foundations of the rule of law in the country by eroding the faith of the common man in the great institutions of the country? Where are we heading?
S. C. CHABBA,
Can’t ruin my city for my desire
Thanks for raising this issue. Although I am not a regular reader, I appreciate your work. I feel very proud when someone asks me about my city and I simply answer: "Chandigarh is my heart". Being a resident of the city, it’s my duty to take care of it and I request the government to take necessary action against this project. Our city is different from all other cities because of its beauty, so please save it. I am an ordinary citizen and I don’t even have my own house, but for my desire or need, I can’t ruin my city which gives me everything to survive.
Skyscrapers will add to the beauty of Shivalik Hills
The photograph I saw on the front page of The Tribune dated November 17, 2010, showing Sukhna Lake against the backdrop of the Camelot towers was not looking too bad but adding to the beauty of Shivalik Hills, as if one is sitting on a beach in Mumbai. Le Corbusier’s concept was for relatively small population. Also, he did not anticipate the silt formation in the lake but our administration has to face the uphill task to clean the Sukhna bed every year.
New York is looking beautiful with so many skyscrapers and is an important trade centre in the world. I think we grumble too much in the name of Corbusier. He has done his best to plan the city. Our problems are staring at us, and we have to face them. The metro project for Chandigarh is not coming out of Corbusier’s concept.
Nobody raised any questions when the Zirakpur skyline was rising in the South of Chandigarh. The Tribune campaign is right against the misuse of power by politicians on one hand, but on the other hand, we are criticising a company that has many honours in building modern India and they have come forward to give us quality flats to settle good number of population around Chandigarh. I feel we misuse Corbusier’s name whenever we talk about the City Beautiful. We have to take our own decisions for our own needs. If Chandigarh is described as a concrete jungle created by Corbusier, the periphery is in the hands of Punjab and Haryana. They have every right to create other concrete jungles around Chandigarh under the ‘garb’ of planned development. However, the height of proposed towers may be limited to 18 to 24 floors keeping in view of the earthquake-prone Shivalik area.
Dr B. S. AGGARWAL,
What is wrong with the project?
There is no denying the fact that Chandigarh was conceived as a unique city by Jawaharlal Nehru and others. In all fairness, Nehru’s dream has been fulfilled, and it still continues to be a cherished city, especially for retired people. However, one fails to understand as to in which way the Tata Housing Project is going to hamper the clean and cool winds of the Shivaliks, which are so graciously being enjoyed by the residents of Chandigarh. Today, population has increased manifold, the standard of living of the residents has improved tremendously, the value of money has gone down and income slab has gone high manifold and even the purchasing capacity, especially of the young working and enterprising couples, has enhanced manifold. Obviously, everybody cannot be accommodated in Sector 9 and 10. Then, what is the harm if the young working couples by saving each penny pay the monthly instalments and dream of having a flat of their own?
In all earnestness, I feel that we should encourage such housing projects, so that the young population of Chandigarh fulfil their dream of owning a flat one day. Merely a few politicians are also in the line to own flats does not mean the project itself is bad and deserves to be condemned and abandoned. Only thing required is, that let their be a thorough and exhaustive enquiry by some elite investigating agency to find out if there has been any illegality and irregularity and if it is so, then the guilty should be brought to book and exemplary punishment be awarded.
JASBIR SINGH BINDRA,
Respect people’s sentiments
The politicians should respect the sentiments of the people who are opposed to this project which has already created controversy and is in violation of the Punjab New Capital (Periphery) Control Act 1952. Also, THDC should not go ahead with the project to avoid controversies.
It will disfigure the city
Born and brought up in Chandigarh, I have seen the city grow from a peaceful city to now crowded with cars and people coming here from all parts of the country facing great difficulty to get an accommodation. The members of the controversial building society are politicians and most of them are owners of large properties. This kind of attitude from the so-called people's representatives should be condemned in any sense. If the 19-storyed building is allowed to come up, the ‘head’ of the city will get disfigured forever and the purpose and the essence of Chandigarh, as envisioned by its founders, will also be diluted. Therefore, politicians should rise above their self-centered approach and think about the common men who are facing housing problem.
A constant reminder needed
A special newspaper should be published to unearth scams and corruption in India, so that people are constantly reminded about all the misconduct of politicians who thrive on the fact that no one can be brought to justice because of cumbersome legal procedures. Public memory is short. Therefore, a permanent publication will be a constant reminder to the public of their misconduct.
Spare a thought for heritage city status
Some of the politicians for their personal benefit are violating the Chandigarh Periphery Act and making hindrance in Chandigarh’s claim to get a heritage city status to be granted by UNESCO. I surely agree with the responsible residents of the city that by blocking the beautiful view of the Shivaliks, it will cause damage to the natural beauty. Moreover, this will also reduce the majesty of the official buildings such as The Punjab and Haryana High Court, Civil Secretariat and Vidhan Sabha. Also, the most popular tourist spots like Sukhna Lake and Rock Garden can lose their sheen. I, being a supporter of the issue that Chandigarh belongs to Punjab, now have to agree to the thought that let Chandigarh be Chandigarh, otherwise the politicians will ruin the City Beautiful.
BIR INDER SINGH SIDHU,
Preserve the soul of the city
Punjab politicians have ruined the state to the extent that its GDP growth has plunged to 4.5 per cent as against the national GDP of 9 per cent. Even states like Bihar are far ahead of Punjab in development. Secondly, it has added huge burden on the state with Rs 70,000-crore loan. Going by these statistics, it would be appropriate to conclude what they could think of Chandigarh. I would urge the Prime Minister to immediately intervene, so that the character of the city is preserved. If the project is allowed to go through, it will give other violators a free hand for carrying on unauthorised constructions. Therefore, all the citizens should join hands to preserve the character and soul of the city.
Chandigarh will no longer be recognised as 'City Beautiful'
This project is definitely going to destroy the city’s skyline. Chandigarh with an area of 114 sq km is already full to its capacity. The city was initially built for a population of 5 lakh only. At present, the city is having around 12 lakh population. If the project goes ahead, one can imagine the plight of the city in terms of population density, provision of basic amenities, reduction in open spaces and congestion on the roads. The other socio-economic problems relating to avoidable project will be at the forefront and the city will no longer be ‘City Beautiful’. The scenic beauty of the Shivalik Hills will not be visible. On the one hand, we are making concerted efforts to preserve the environment of the city; on the other, we are allowing the construction of highrise buildings. Therefore, the Administration should start thinking in the right direction to get rid of this controversial project.
Chandigarh leads in per capita number of vehicles. A pollution-free city is heading towards a new threat due to swelling number of heavily polluted vehicles. Therefore, steps should also be taken to improve the health of the city. If the big players like the Tatas jump into the arena, the others will follow the suit and the very character of the city will be ruined.
Dr ZORA SINGH,
Residents must oppose the project
Chandigarh was named “City Beautiful” because it is the first planned and the cleanest city in India. It is known internationally for its architecture and urban planning. The construction of high-rise buildings has created controversy and is in violation of the Punjab New capital (Periphery) Control Act 1952. Therefore, the honourable court and the Chandigarh Administration should take necessary steps to stop this project. I would also request THDC not to go ahead with the project to avoid controversies. The residents of Chandigarh should come forward to oppose this project.
Preserve the city
I grew up in Chandigarh and am proud of the wonderful city that gave me a modern, urban, world-class upbringing. Currently, I live in the US. The media here constantly talk about India's rise, and how the environment, aesthetics and urban planning are being sacrificed to allow highrise buildings and shopping malls. Chandigarh remains the sole surviving city in the midst of uncontrolled proliferation. Like the Taj Mahal, it is recognised across the world as the “City Beautiful” and, therefore, must be preserved. It is sad to see that while the world appreciates this fact, the very people elected to lead the country towards progress are participating in ruining this beautiful city for personal gains. I exhort The Tribune and fellow readers to continue the good fight, and hope that their effort to thwart the destruction of Chandigarh’s skyline is successful.
Dr DAVENDRA SOHAL,
Take legal action
Thanks for unearthing the ‘nexus’ between bureaucrats and politicians. The Adarsh Housing Society scam has shown how the politicians break barriers of their parties and get together on one platform when it comes to make easy money. Now, all the residents of Chandigarh should rise against the Tata Housing Project and get it stopped through legal action, otherwise more such projects will emerge to tarnish the look of the City Beautiful.
NAGINDAR SINGH RANGOOWAL,
Why such a hue and cry?
There is no need to raise such a hue and cry over this project. For how long are we going to protect the heritage of the city? Have the architects of Chandigarh ever thought of setting up colonies on its outskirts? All sides of Chandigarh have been surrounded by such colonies like Mauli Jagran Colony, Palsora Colony, Dhanas Colony, Colony No.4 and Colony No. 5, etc. Were these ever included in the original plan of Le carbusier’s Chandigarh? When there was no hue and cry over setting up these colonies in nearly the heart of the city, then what is the problem if Tata’s highrise towers come up, that too away from Chandigarh?
Flyovers and underpasses are being planned for the city, as these are the need of the hour. Shall we raise a voice against all these structures just because baseline of the city will be in danger? Today, a 250-sq-yard plot costs around Rs 3 crore in Chandigarh. Therefore, there is need to construct more houses in the vicinity of the city to reduce the cost of living.
Er. KAILASH GARG,
The Tribune’s investigation into the project is an eye-opener for those who really love Chandigarh and want the world heritage city status from UNESCO. I was really pained to go through the contents and, therefore, term these politicians as “silent killer of Chandigarh”. I am residing in the city since 1951. I have seen it growing before my eyes. Initially, Chandigarh was planned for 5 lakh population but official figure at present is 12 lakh. Actually, the figure is much more than that. The planner had foresighted haphazard growth and enacted the Periphery Act 1952 that restricted any major construction activities within the 10-mile radius of the city. But politician and bureaucrats continue to violate the Act.
The architects, planners, artists, writers and other sympathisers of Chandigarh are unanimous and have deep concerned over the future of the city because the main idea and energy to built extraordinary place by Jawaharlal Nehru and Le Corbusier are being forfeited with the growth of Chandigarh beyond its designed limit. To preserve and promote the heritage of the city, all citizens and organisations should join hands. If politicians belonging to different political parties are united for this project, the right-minded residents of Chandigarh should also be united in their opposition to the project.
Tatas should shelve the idea
Nothing can be done to stop this project unless we go out on the street and protest against the project. Today, nobody pays attention to black arm bands or mere words. A reader recently wrote that we are stuck in a time warp by protesting against this project. I don’t agree with his views that “Hyderabad had no problem allowing highrise buildings around its lake”. If one state allows such nonsense, do we need to do the same? The Tatas should withdraw from this project as its name is being marred. How is it that only influential people have invested in this exclusive lakeside project? That itself says it all. Please don’t spoil the only beautiful city in India.
Hope better sense prevails
Chandigarh is perhaps the only well-planned city in the post-independent India which is still beautiful and to some extent has survived the ‘onslaught’ of politicians and bureaucrats. It is the ‘Jewell of India’ and we should not allow it to be destroyed for personal monitory gains of few. The Tata group of companies is a renowned business house, which has always held high moral ethics and has never indulged in any thing unethical or against the wishes of local residents despite the fact that they might have to incur heavy losses, as in the case of the Nano project in Singur (West Bangal). I am sure they will show the same gesture here. Let the greenery and purity of the City Beautiful be preserved. I do hope that better senses would prevail upon all the stakeholders in the project.
ANIL KUMAR GUPTA,
Shift the project to nearby town
The City Beautiful has been an architectural and planning marvel, offering a fabulous life to people, free from hustle-bustle of modern cities. From urban amenities to natural beauty, this city is bestowed with every best thing. Properly planned urban structure, Shivalik hills in the north, natural bounty and beauty of Sukhna Lake make it a beautiful city. The proposed Camelot project could take the beautiful sheen away from Chandigarh. If the project succeeded, then surely the people and country would lose a world-class beautiful city. Can’t Camelot be shifted to some nearby town? This will help reduce population burden, create job opportunities and lead to overall regional development.