Wednesday, July 17, 2019
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Posted at: Mar 16, 2019, 2:08 AM; last updated: Mar 16, 2019, 2:08 AM (IST)GOOD MOTORING H. KISHIE SINGH

Not a Smart City

The minimum that Chandigarh can provide its daily commuters is bus shelters

There is no way that Chandigarh can make claims for a Smart City. Traffic woes on the road; no idea about managing parking lots; daft policies of not opening up parking lots till midday; and street vendors taking over the city. City Beautiful is fast degenerating.

For the sheer incompetence of the Municipal Corporation, the local shopkeepers refer to it as the Municipal Corruption! And this is trumpeted loud and clear at the bus stops.

For over two years, commuters in Chandigarh have braved rain, cold, heat and the ‘loo’ winds by standing in the open. There is not even a stone parapet to sit on. This is hardly the image of a City Beautiful.

Built in 2013 with stainless steel, 60 bus shelters cost Rs 8 crore or Rs 13 lakh each. Made of concrete, as per Le Corbusier’s design, the cost would be around Rs 5 lakh each.

Despite orders from the HC and the advisor, Chandigarh commuters are being denied basic amenities, necessities and rights.

And the road signs are completely useless. They follow no international rules. One sees out of town motorists asking for instructions from locals.

Some months ago, I had a rendezvous with some out-of-towner friends at a restaurant in Sector 7. We both had to hunt for it.  

Reason: Very few restaurants or shops display their names and addresses prominently in front.

This defeats the whole point of a Smart City.

Anywhere else in the world, your name and address has to be prominently displayed. It has to be. Failing that, the postman will not deliver your letters, the Fire and Police departments also echo the postal department. “Don’t call us, we don’t know where you live!” Worse, Domino’s may not deliver your pizza. Amazon is in the 21st century, offering home delivery by drone. Address please! Yes, time to get organised. Soon even your pizza may be delivered by drone.

Chandigarh should learn from Haryana which is leading the charge here. Soon a Unique Identification and Quick Response (QR) code will be posted on the house address linked to GPS co-ordinates. This will make the process of getting services from civic bodies, postal, fire, police and ambulances much quicker and easier. Most cars today are equipped with GPS.

Even garbage collection will be done using a scanner so that digital update can be processed for the task completed on a daily basis!

Chandigarh today, starting with automobiles, which are an inseparable part of our lifestyle and should ideally translate into open roads and plenty of parking, is a chilling and depressing showpiece of neglect. How did the street vendors take over the city, the sidewalks and the parking lots?

Sector 17, once the heartbeat of City Beautiful, resembles a village mela! The wide open Plaza has disappeared. Where were the authorities? The MC and the police? It is a khichdi of misgovernance, corruption and dereliction of duty.

On the day there was rain, hail, thunder and lightning, I was on the road with a Canadian friend. He said, “When it rains in Montreal, the water disappears in five minutes.

“It rains in Chandigarh and the road disappears in five minutes!”

No drainage in our Smart City! 

Happy Motoring!

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