Subscribe RSS

Archive for June, 2009

Selja to Review Chandigarh Tourist Spots on June 29 Jun 26

With Chandigarh acting as a gateway to Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and nearby hill sojourns, the Union Minister of Tourism, Selja, would visit the city on June 29 to review its tourism potential and to promote it further as a tourism destination.

Sources said the minister would be meeting the UT officials to discuss issues pertaining to the tourism sector like revenue collection, tourists’ spots, infrastructure and development, hospitality sector and hotel industry. The minister would be visiting the city for the first time after her inclusion in the Cabinet.

As Chandigarh is a halt destination for domestic tourists en route various hill destinations, the booming tourism sector has a lot of scope further, an official said.

The city, defacto, has become a transit destination for the nearby tourists’ spots in other states, which holds true, particularly in the backdrop of about 7 lakh domestic tourists and around 40,000 foreigners visiting the city last year. As more than 30,000 foreigners visit the city per year, there is a lot of scope of expansion, especially in the hospitality industry. The administration will chalk out a strategy to explore the same, the UT Home Secretary, Ram Niwas, said.

“Also, the cosmopolitan culture works for Chandigarh and makes it a tourist-friendly city. Meanwhile, after meeting the UT officials, the minister will be addressing the media on promoting Chandigarh on the country’s tourism map.

Chandigarh to Introduce Single-Window System Jun 20

On the lines of the registering and licensing branch, the UT State Transport Authority (STA) is introducing a single-window system at its office in Sector 18.

A proposal to this effect was submitted to the Chandigarh administration today. Disclosing this, Secretary, STA, Vandana Disodia said: “We plan to have the computerised single-window system in place by August-end. The civil work is nearing completion and computers have been arranged.

The department also plans to provide ramps for the disabled and adequate parking and sitting arrangement for the public. The building will be totally air-conditioned and a generator set will also be in place to provide for failure of electricity.”

The proposal draws strength and outlines from a study conducted by the Pricewaterhouse Coopers which assessed that the STA needs to use information technology and should avail itself of the benefits of information and communication tools to bring about paper-free office culture.

To be implemented in a phased manner, the project has been divided into three phases - conceptualisation, business case development and project implementation.

The move gets impetus from the National e-Governance Plan (NeGP) that aims at creating a citizen-centric environment for governance. The Planning Commission has also allocated funds as additional central assistance to all the States and UTs for assessing their capacity building needs and for preparing e-Governance and capacity building roadmaps.

Citco All Set to Open New Hotel in the City Jun 17

The Chandigarh Industrial and Tourism Development Corporation (CITCO) is all set to open a new chapter in the hospitality sector in the city. With the administration approving an alternative site for shifting of CITCO’s iron and steel store on two-acre plot on the Chandigarh-Ambala road in the Industrial Area here, the CITCO seems to have set the ball rolling for a new hotel.

This decision, among others, was taken in the board of directors’ meeting held here yesterday.

While confirming this, Home Secretary-cum- CITCO chairman, Ram Niwas, said the modalities were being finalised for the upcoming hotel. “It is yet to decide what kind of hotel would it be and under what policy matter it should be established. We are engaging a consultant for finalising the modalities.”

The administration has mooted a proposal recently to build a five-star hotel on the prime location and talks were on with major hotel chains, which included Hilton, ITC, Marriott and Radisson to explore the possibility of the private-public partnership for the project.

Nevertheless, the administration seems reluctant to unveil its strategy on this new project. “No decision has been taken hitherto about whether it would be a five-star hotel or a budget hotel under the PPP policy. It would be decided after weighing all pros and cons,” said Ram Niwas.

On the other hand, sources said the CITCO top brass had already held preliminary talks with major hotel chains for the project.

Besides, the entry of the Multi Naional Companies in Chandigarh was another factor for the major hospitality players evincing keen interest in the city.

“Given its strategic location on the Ambala-Chandigarh Highway, the private sector would definitely show interest in the proposal because of its proximity of the airport and railway station, an official said.

The DLF is constructing a five-star hotel in the IT Park while the Uppals are coming up with a five-star hotel in Sector 35 here.

In yet another decision, the directors approved the proposal of renovating Hotel Shivalikview at an estimated cost of Rs 875 lakh. In the proposed plan, besides creating a multi-purpose hall on the ground floor, a provision for creating three additional F and B outlets was also approved in addition to a health club, swimming pool and night club.

The board also approved the proposal for renovating two restaurants Rustle and Magic Wok in Hotel Mountview.

Meanwhile, in a damage control exercise, the CITCO management decided to defer the implementation of draft rules for recruitment and promotion policy, keeping in view the prevailing resentment among its employees. The newly framed draft rules, apparently, were beneficial for new appointees while overlooking the interests of the older employees.

The decision to implement new pay commission rules, too, has been put off because of financial implications.

Chandigarh Transport System to have Metro in Four Years Jun 13

The proposal to have a Mass Rapid Transport System (MRTS) for Chandigarh and its adjoining areas moved a step closure to execution with the Rail India Technical and Economic Services (RITES) presenting the draft Comprehensive Mobility Report (CMP) to the Chandigarh administration today.

The CMP highlights that the MRTS project, including Metro,  Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) and Commuters Rail Service (CRS) has been estimated to be Rs 15,000 crore and will take four years to materialise, said RITES officials at a meeting held under the chairmanship of Finance Secretary Sanjay Kumar.

At the meeting, RITES presented the CMP for Chandigarh Urban Complex keeping in mind the architectural and environmental considerations of the city. The plan covers aspects relating to Metro routes, BRT corridors, grade separators, railway overbridges, railway underbridge, integrated freight complex, parking facilities and cost revenue modes for the entire project. In order to provide seamless transportation connectivity to the commuters in the region, the Chandigarh administration and the states of Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab have jointly initiated the process to have a MRTS.

RITES has proposed that Metro will cover a distance of 52.4 km, out of which 40.4 km will be in Chandigarh and rest 12 km in Mohali. 15.8 km on Madhya Marg (Khuda Lahora-Housing Board-Manimajra-IT Park), 10 kms on Himalaya Marg(Sector 1-Sector 17 - Sector 43-Sector 51) and 14.6 km from Sector 26 - Industrial Area - Vikas Marg - Maloya - Dadumajra will be covered by the Metro system. The alignment from Transport Nagar to Manimajra and the alignment of Sector 26 to Dadumajra have been proposed on surface whereas rests of alignments have been proposed underground.

The underground system is likely to cost around Rs 320 crores per km whereas surface alignment is likely to cost Rs 140 crore per km. There will be around 50 stations, each after approximately 1 km. To begin with, frequency for Metro has been proposed at every 10 minutes, which could be reduced to three minutes with passage of time. The BRTS and the CRS will be covering 190.5 km and 190 km, respectively. A total of 11 corridors for BRTS system were mooted by RITES.

Sanjay Kumar suggested to RITES to create a catchment area for every station of Metro so that mini AC bus services could be planned for commuters using Metro system. He also asked RITES to submit a report on locations of bus queue shelters on V-3 roads along with the pedestrian under passes. A metro system will take care of the transport needs of the tricity and go a long way to help maintain Chandigarh’s orderly appearance. Once the MRTS project comes into existence, the pressure on the roads will decrease drastically, added the finance secretary.

Integrated ticketing system would be set up for the MRTS by which people would be able to use any mode of transport under MRTS.

When asked on the financial model, Sanjay Kumar said the administration looked at the Metro project more as a social commitment to provide reasonable, good quality transport system and reducing vehicular movement on the roads.

Bal Bhavan Introduces Multi-purpose Hall, Open Air Theatre and International Doll Museum Jun 11

The renovated Multi-purpose Hall, Open Air Theatre and International Doll Museum was inaugurated at Bal Bhavan, Sector 23, by UT administrator SF Rodrigues here today.

The multi-purpose hall, having a seating capacity of 300 persons, has been renovated at the cost of Rs 25 lakh, the Open theatre with a capacity of 500 persons, at the cost of Rs 20.5 lakh and the museum at an estimated expenditure of Rs 43.73 lakh.

These projects have been given a new look by adding state-of-the-art facilities to meet the requirements of the theatrical world and the changing pattern of our society.

The International Doll Museum has on display about 250 dolls from 30 countries of the world. A special corner for souvenirs of the Indian and international dolls has been created for the visitors. These souvenirs are in the form of white and black mugs, T-shirts, cushion covers, table mats, mouse pads, coasters, photo frames, key chains, badges, piggy banks, crystal pieces and miscellaneous items.

A colourful cultural programme of fusion dance, pooja dance, Rajasthani dance etc. was presented on the occasion. Home Secretary Ram Niwas welcomed the guests. Other senior officers who were present on the occasion included MP Singh, secretary to the Governor and finance secretary Sanjay Kumar.