12 Dec : Chandigarh-Punjab Chapter of the Indian Institute of Architects (IIA)
organized a Symposium on “Chandigarh and Tata Towers” at Press Club on 12th December, 2010. This symposium was organized to deliberate on the upcoming Tata Housing project in the Kansal village in the north of Capitol Complex. The project has invited much controversy from the planners, architects and general public. IIA as a professional body took up the issue of the Tata housing vis a vis Chandigarh’s skyline.
Surinder Bahga, Chairman, Chandigarh-Punjab Chapter of IIA introduced the theme of the symposium. He highlighted that part of the original site of Tata Towers, called Hill View Enclave was promoted by Defence Services Society. It was designed on about 28 acres as plotted development. Later on it was shelved. He said, “On one side, a
10-storeyed building block near General Post Office which was a part of original master plan of Chandigarh was shelved as experts have opined that roads may not be able to take onrush of vehicles coming to that site. How it is possible that now roads of northern sectors can take load of 19 Tata towers having height upto 35 storeys?”
Mr Ajay Jagga, Advocate said, “There should be no additional construction in the Capitol Complex especially to disturb the view of the open landscape and the foothills of the Shivaliks. Further any tinkering with the basic plan of city will diminish the chances of getting the world heritage status from UNESCO which will be a big blow. The project of Tata housing is also interfering with the basic plan of Capitol Complex and hence is against the interest of this unique city which is also a spirit of architecture.”
Prof Jagjit Singh Ghuman, Former Chief Town Planner, Govt. of Punjab said, “The solution lies in creating a permanent mechanism for protecting Mother Nature by taking overall control of such lands in the Shivalik foothills in the north of Chandigarh City’s Capitol Complex and create an Environmental Land Bank.”
Mr Jit K Gupta, Director, College of Architecture, Bhaddal said, “The
project is not only unsustainable but also fraught with danger emerging from massive uncontrolled urbanisation which is likely to take place in the area once the project gets going. The project indicates high degree of insensitivity on the part of professionals
including architects and planners involved in planning, designing and approval of the project.”
Dr SS Bhatti, Former Principal, Chandigarh College of Architecture urged Ratan Tata that if he has any respect for the law of the land that is India, he should gracefully withdraw from the dubious project and set an example of business ethics which, he rues, are just now missing from the country. If he does so, this will be a landmark contribution in the field of Environmental Preservation.” Dr Bhatti made an impassioned appeal to Ratan Tata’s architectural qualification because the problem on hand pertains to the sanctity of Architecture and the preservation of its universally-valued Chandigarh Heritage.
Renu Saigal, Former Chief Architect, Chandigarh expressed that it will
destroy the basic concept of Chandigarh, will burden the
infrastructure and shall spoil the ecology.
Reacting to the issue, Pradeep Bhagat, Principal, Chandigarh College of Architecture said,” Easiest way to kill a city” and PR Luthra, Former Chief Architect, Punjab said “it is totally against the idea of
Chandigarh. Who has floated this idea?” Prof PS Mahoora, from Guru
Nanak Dev University described the project as ‘unethical’.
Commenting on the state of affairs, Pallav Mukherjee, a practicing Architect of Chandigarh said that even this petition will gather dust and shall be rejected.
Archana Chaudhary, Architect Planner expressed that the sensitivity of the project lies in the totality of Chandigarh’s periphery which needs to be handled very carefully.
G S Girn, Town Planner stated that every construction north of Capitol complex is the result of non enforcement of edict laid by great masters for Chandigarh. No limit of greed and lust.