I have heard people saying that in planning, Panchkula is developing better than Chandigarh : Bhupinder Singh Hooda
M.M.Khanna, INVC, Chandigarh, Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda today revealed State Government’s plan to take the pressure off the city of Chandigarh and joined Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Prakash Singh Badal and Administrator of Union Territory of Chandigarh, Mr Shivraj Patil in reaching a consensus to develop projects of Metro Rail for tricity of Chandigarh, Panchkula and Mohali, an International Airport, an extension of PGIMER and expansion of Panjab University. Hooda was sharing his views in a first ever penal discussion on “Future of Chandigarh” organized by an English daily here today. While detailing out his plans to take the pressure off Chandigarh, Mr Hooda said that the State Government has already prepared a number of development plans including development of Panchkula township, Panchkula extension, Mansa Devi Complex and Kot-Behla Urban complex. A large township has also been planned as Pinjore-Kalka Urban Complex for a population of five lakhs. The entire periphery zone, extending upto 10 miles from the outer boundary of Chandigarh has already been planned for a population of 14.23 lakhs by 2021 AD. With a view to maintain the green character of the adjoining areas, the State of Haryana has planned urbanization of only 10,848 hectares while leaving 21,244 hectares outside the urbanisable zone of development plans, but having periphery controls. Hooda, in reply to a question, said that negotiations have been held with the authorities of the Post-graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh to set up its extension in Panchkula on the pattern of an extension of AIIMS, New Delhi in Badhsa in district Jhajjar of Haryana. He said that Panchkula would have a National Institute of Fashion Technology and have plans for private universities and private hospitals. Also, Panchkula has a 200-bed hospital. Hooda pointed out that there is no institutional arrangement to involve Punjab and Haryana in development of Chandigarh adding that he and Mr Badal do not have any say in development of Chandigarh. “ We are never asked to give comments or suggestions for development of Chandigarh”, he added. To support his point of view, Mr Hooda reminded that in case of Bhakhra Dam, views of stake holders are taken before reaching any decision. He also regretted that the arrangement of 60:40 ratio made between Punjab and Haryana for Chandigarh has now been disturbed. On the issue of Metro Rail project for the tricity of Chandigarh, Panchkula and Mohali, Haryana Chief Minister thanked Mr Patil for convening a meeting and offered help of the State Government in this project. He also pointed out the lack of adequate connectivity between Chandigarh and Panchkula saying that while Mohali has eight links to Chandigarh, Panchkula has only one. Therefore, Haryana had requested the Administrator of Chandigarh to have more links between the two cities. While describing Chandigarh as the first planned city after independence of the country, Mr Hooda said that it was developed for a population of five lakhs, but now its population was more than 10 lakhs. Besides being a Union Territory, it is also the capital of two States of Punjab and Haryana. Therefore, it is expanding, but added, “ We hear that a mother has three children, but this city is like having a child who has three mothers”. He said that he was of the view that the sanctity and chemistry of Chandigarh should not be changed, but regretted that it is changing. Mr Hooda said that he has lived and studied in Chandigarh and has also lived in New Delhi and has seen that New Delhi’s Lutyens character was not disturbed. Both Punjab and Haryana have developed adjoining towns of Mohali and Panchkula. The growth rate of Panchkula has been higher than that of Mohali during last two decades. He said that he have heard people saying that in planning, Panchkula is developing better than Chandigarh. Hooda said that he would not like to touch any political issue at this forum, but reiterated that Punjab and Haryana should have independent High Courts of their own located in Chandigarh. “This is my request”, he added. Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal suggested Mr Patil to use his good offices to expand PGIMER as it provides treatment facilities at an affordable cost and patients from different parts of the country come here. He also emphasized the need to develop the Metro rail and connect adjoining areas including Zirakpur, Kharar,Rajpura and extend it even to Ludhiana and Patiala. He also assured all help of his Government for this project. Mr Badal also suggested that Mr Hooda should lead both, him and Mr Patil to the Central Government for the speedy implementation of this ambitious project. Mr Badal also thanked Mr Hooda for the contribution made by the State Government of Haryana for development of an International Airport. The Administrator of Chandigarh, Mr Shivraj Patil described Chandigarh as the second best planned city in the country after New Delhi in providing facilities to its residents. He said that facilities at par with urban areas would have to be provided in rural areas to check migration. The city should also be developed in a manner that it provides facilities to those who are coming here. He said that big houses should be designed in such a manner that these also have accommodation for domestic helpers. Similarly, industrial units should have residential facilities for their workers within their units. He said that solar technology should be used by all houses and offices and so should be rainwater harvesting. Patil said that plan of Chandigarh is ready which would be notified to seek suggestions of the residents. A committee would then seek suggestions of the residents and the plan would be finalized before its implementation. He said that both Punjab University and PGIMER need expansion. Referring to the issue of growing volume of traffic in the city, he said that there was a plan to have underground parking facility at places of gardens. He also appreciated the suggestion made by someone from the audience that Chandigarh should have international stadium for football and athletics facility. While concluding, Mr Patil said that people believe in changing Governments, but questioned “why change a Government, why not change the attitude which is not helpful”. We are not trying to change vision and attitude, he added saying “ pehle kehte thay jaisa Raja Vaise Praja” but nowadays “ Jaisa Samaj vaise Sarkar”.He also urged the media to guide on various issues. A number of senior officers of the Governments of Haryana, Punjab and Chandigarh Administration and prominent personalities of the area were present on the occasion.