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Archive for the Category "Chandigarh Latest News"

Chandigarh City to be made slum-free Dec 29

If the dwelling plans for the poor by the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) materialise, 2010 will witness real progress on the slum rehabilitation front.

“The task of providing quality living to the city’s poor is quite big but we are putting in a lot of effort in this direction. The most challenging task the CHB faces in 2010 is rehabilitation of slum dwellers in 18 colonies, and make Chandigarh a smoke-free and slum-free city in the country. The two-phased scheme has already been included in the City Development Plan,” said Sanjay Kumar, Housing-cum-Finance Secretary, UT Administration.

It was way back in 1979 that the CHB had been first assigned the work of rehabilitating the jhuggi dwellers. Under the scheme, 2,712 sites had been developed in Dadumajra and Karsan that won CHB its first National Award from HUDCO, recalled Mr Sanjay Kumar.

G J S Rosha, Chief Engineer, CHB, said:“In Phase I, the CHB plans to construct 6,368 units with an average gross density of 58 units per acre. In the second phase, 17,473 units will be constructed.

While 80 per cent of the project cost will be borne by the Centre, 12 per cent will be met by contributions from the beneficiaries, and eight per cent by the Chandigarh Administration.”

Against the target of 25,728 dwelling units for the slum dwellers, the construction work has already started on 12,864 units and the CHB hopes to hand over 600 units by March, 2010. The UT Administration has earmarked 356.38 acres of land for the rehabilitation project. Out of this, 216.31 acres located at four locations — Dhanas, Maloya-I, Sector 49 and Sector 38 (W) — have been made available to the CHB, which has paid Rs 198.28 crore on account of the cost of the land to the Chandigarh Administration.

Rosha said up to November 30, 2009, the CHB had spent Rs 143.81 crore on the construction of dwelling units.

It has received Rs 145.49 crore as central share of the scheme and Rs 30.99 crore as state share.

The CHB is expecting Rs 178 crore more from the Centre in the current financial year.

Solar Rickshaws Introduced in Chandigarh Dec 17

Kamlesh, Mayor, Municipal Corporation, here, today formally delivered 5 solar battery operated rickshaws to the eligible rickshaw pullers, registered with the Municipal Corporation.

Revealing about this scheme, TPS Phoolka, Joint Commissioner, said 10 solar battery operated rickshaws were given to the corporation by the Science and Technology Department, Chandigarh administration, at zero cost for distribution to the eligible rickshaw pullers.

He said that training was given to all these rickshaw pullers for the operation of the solar rickshaw by the manufacturing company personnel in order to avoid any problem in operation. The balance five solar rickshaws pending with the MCC will be delivered in the next lot to the next five eligible rickshaw pullers.

BRRana, Project Officer, Swaran Jayanti Shastri Rozgar Yojna (SJSRY) said the feedback with regard to the operation of the solar battery operated rickshaws would supplied by the allottees. The allotment letters were handed over to Lallu prasar, Ram Sabat, Radhey Shyam shukla, Mangal Parsad, Guru Parsad.

Sukhna Lake Goes Up in Flames Oct 08

Sukhna Lake on Fire

Sukhna Lake on Fire

It was virtually a “towering inferno” at Sukhna Lake late this evening. One of the city’s best-known “beauty” spots, the elegant glass-structured “watch tower”, on an island in the lake, went up in flames even as the city’s administration watched helplessly.

No one was injured in the mishap, but the structure reportedly suffered immense damage.

Situated in the middle of the lake, the burning watchtower was a literal reminder of the 1974 Hollywood flick, the Towering Inferno, starring Steve Mcqueen and Paul Newmen. Though the difference in the structures of the two fires, the multi-storeyed building in the movie and the watchtower at the Sukhna Lake, was obvious, the helplessness of the administration to deal with the situation was almost similar.

As the burning watchtower went up in smoke, fire officials, who were unable to reach the spot to quell the flames, saw the structure getting charred and damaged. Till the time of the filing of this report at 11 pm, the fire, though described as under control, was being stroked and fanned by the winds gushing in from the hills.

While MC officials were reluctant to say anything and maintained that the cause of the fire would be known only after “investigations”, sources in the department claimed that this could well be the result of short-circuit in wirings of the lighting decorations being done there.

For the late evening walkers at the lake, the fire initially went unnoticed. Suspecting the low flames emanating from the site as part of the “puja” ceremonies associated with ‘karva chauth’, many people who saw it chose to ignore it. However, it was former mayor, Pradeep Chhabra, who saw flames and smoke billowing out of the tower at about 7.15 p.m. and he immediately informed the fire department.

The fire tenders that reached the spot were of no help, as they could not reach the structure. The administration virtually had nothing in its “arsenal” to deal with the situation. “They should have a helicopter,” quipped one of the hundreds of bystanders there but, alas, that wasn’t to be.

“It just happened in seconds,” said Ajit Kumar, a regular walker on the lake. “I was at the 600 m mark, when I heard loud sound of shattering glass. I looked around and was aghast seeing the watch tower up in flames,” he said, adding that it took him time to realise what had happened.

Anita, another walker, said she saw the flames when she was at the regulator end. “It was scary,” she said, adding that by the time she reached the CITCO café, there was a huge chaos with policemen and firemen moving around aimlessly. Fire Officer JK Kang said the fire-fighting operation was still going on and nothing could be said on the extent of the damage or the cause.

World Tourism Day to focus on Sukhna and Sec-17 plaza Sep 15

This year’s World Tourism Day celebrations will focus on two popular tourist landmarks of the city — Sukhna Lake and Sector-17 plaza. This was stated during a meeting held under the chairmanship of UT Home Secretary Ram Niwas here today.

The celebrations on September 27 will commence with “Sur-Nandan” (morning raga), an Indian classical and fusion music programme by renowned artist Subhash Ghosh,at the Sukhna Lake promenadeat 5.30 am.

A morning tourism walk from Open Hand Monument (Capitol Complex) to Rose Garden, Sector-16, through Bougainvillaea Garden, will be held at 7 am.

Also, tourists/visitors arriving by morning Shatabdi Express will be accorded a warm welcome by students of the Chandigarh Institute of Hotel Management, Sector 42.

At 10.30 am, a painting competition on tourism will be organised at Sukhna Lake. The competition will encompass the tourist spots of the city.

CITCO will extend 15 per cent discount on food at its two hotels — Mountview and Shivalikview.

Also, 10 per cent discount on food will be extended to tourists at Hotel Parkview and other food outlets and restaurants of CITCO in the city.

CITCO will provide complimentary ride on its popular “Hop-On, Hop-Off” tourist coach to children, including under-privileged kids, to make them part of mainstream activities on the World Tourism Day.

An “antakshari” programme with participation of people from all walks of life will be organised at CITCO Chef Lake Cafeteria from 5 pm to 6.30 pm.

An open programme for merriment and fun with DJ for tourists and public will be held at Sukhna Lake from 7 pm till 9.30 pm.

On the eve of World Tourism Day i.e September 26, a musical evening will be organised by the Tourism Department at the Sector-17 plaza from 6 pm onwards.

Chandigarh is the most greenest city in the whole Asia Aug 29

With 35.7 per cent forest cover, the UT tops the list of the greenest cities in Asia followed by Delhi which has 20 per cent forest cover.

The increased density is born out by the fact that yellow pockets of the forest cover (with 40 per cent density) have since turned green (60 per cent density) and green pockets have turned black (with 80 per cent density).

According to the State Forest Report, 2007, the forest cover in Chandigarh has increased to 35.7 per cent of its total geographical area as compared to 29.3 per cent in 2003 and only 21 per cent in 1991. The cover has exceeded the 33 per cent target set by the National Forest Policy.

The report puts the total green cover area in the country at 23.5 per cent. The UT Forest Department has set a target of planting 69,581 trees and 48,406 shrubs on both government and private land in 2009-10.

“Out of its 114-square-km area, the UT has about 41 sq km under the forest cover and an additional nine sq km under tree cover. The country has 20.3 per cent area under forest cover and 3 per cent under tree cover. There is incremental growth not only in the area under forests but also in their quality which is measured by density”, said Ishwar Singh, conservator of forests, Chandigarh.

In 2008-09, against the target of 2,64,130 saplings, 1.5 lakh stem

cuttings of arundo-donex and ipomea plants and 6 lakh of patch-sowing, the department planted 2,44,216 saplings, 1.5 lakh stem cuttings and 6 lakh patch-sowing.

The department has formed 117 eco-clubs in government and private schools and 29 environmental societies in higher institutions of Chandigarh to spread awareness about the importance of environment and eco-friendly activities.

Pink-Coloured ‘Tuk-tuk’ Service Inaugurated in Chandigarh Aug 11

Tuk-tuk Service in Chandigarh

Tuk-tuk Service in Chandigarh

The much-awaited pink-coloured day and night LPG driven Tuk-tuk service (autos) was launched by UT Administrator SF Rodrigues on the State Transport Authority office in Sector 18.

Apart from this, cheques were also given for ordinary LPG-driven autos too. A customer can call a Tuk-tuk at his doorsteps by dialing 4242424.

This vehicle can be hired on the road too. A Tuk-tuk will charge Rs 10 for first km and Rs 8 for subsequent km and the concept will be implemented in phased manner.

While distributing cheques to the loanees for ordinary autos, Rodrigues said it was part of the multi-dimensional empowerment programme for the below poverty line persons, Scheduled Castes, physically challenged, women and members of the minority communities.

He said the process of the Mass Rapid Transport System in the tricity was on the fast track and Sector 17 ISBT location would be its nodal point.

Appreciating the contribution of the Delhi Finance Corporation (DFC) in giving loans on easy term, the administration has launched a partnership initiative programme and asked the LPG Auto Operator Union to be active partners in this endeavour.

Ram Niwas, Home Secretary, UT, in his welcome address, said as already agreed, there would be no diesel/petrol autorickshaw after August 31.

Vandana Disodia, Secretary, State Transport Authority, said the DFC would extend financial assistance to 500 LPG auto operators in Chandigarh on easy terms.

Six New Theme-Based Gardens to be Designed in Chandigarh Jul 18

For developing six new theme-based gardens in the city along with adding new features in the existing gardens, the Chandigarh administration has chalked out an estimate of around Rs 8 crore.

The administration has decided to develop Garden of Palms and Children Adventure Park in Sector 42, Valley of Animals and Sunken Garden with knot concept in Green Belt of Sector 51, Maze Garden in Sector 52, Sculpture Garden in Leisure Valley Sector 10, Garden of Conifers in Sector 51 (rear side of YPS) and Garden Centre in Government Nursery in Sector 23 C for Rs 232 lakh, Rs 150 lakh, Rs 145 lakh, Rs 69 lakh, Rs 95 lakh and Rs 84 lakh, respectively.

According to a press note, attempt would to boost tourism in the city along with giving aesthetic view to the city. Under the Garden of Palms and Children Adventure Park in Sector 42, there are plans to develop an area of around 25 acres near New Lake which would cater to the playing needs of children from different age groups.

Proposals are to create Adventure Mound Cycling facility in the park and develop a Toddler’s Corner where children below five years will be provided facilities like child-friendly swings, ground boats, see-saw, slides, spring rides, small automatic cars etc. Public conveniences, drinking water facility, rain shelters, benches, information centre, gift shop and refreshment kiosk would also be created in the park.

Valley of Animals and Sunken Garden with knot concept will showcase a mass display of various animal species topiaries on the slopes and undulations, co-existing in family form or in action.The shapes of animals could be created with plants of different hues and textures so as to make it a colourful and curious display.

The Knot Garden concept would be purely for augmenting the aesthetic presentation of the garden by using edge plants, stones and pebbles making low-headed carpet-like designs on the ground preferably for viewing at low levels.

The third phase sectors of the city have multi-storeyed flats and to soften the look of a concrete jungle, Garden of Conifers has been proposed in Sector 51. The garden would act like a breather for the residents of this sector.

The Maze Garden is likely to have an interesting and amusing feature like a Maze with Hedge (“Bhool Bhulaiyan”).The Leisure Valley has been found best suited for the setting up of Sculpture Garden, where sculpture of renowned artists and students from the College of Art would be installed.

The Government Nursery in Sector 23 will be developed as Garden Centre by providing greenhouse, glass house, poly house, tissue culture lab, horticulture/ landscape information centre having well-laid paths, enough plant material to meet city requirements, sale counter, play equipment for children and art gallery of plants.

Chandigarh Rose Garden to Get an uplift Jul 10

The Chandigarh Administration has started the process for upgrading the Sector 16 Rose Garden. The plan focuses on breaking the old-fashioned and stereotype planning through additions of new varieties of exotic flowers, creating a back-up system and developing landscaping combined with recreational aspects.

UT Finance Secretary Sanjay Kumar said the Zakir Hussain Rose Garden, the biggest rose garden in Asia, is the prime tourist spot in the city and there was a need to renovate it.

“Innovative ideas would be used for repositioning and changing flower beds in order to arouse curiosity among the visitors. New concept sections would be added like section of roses named after world personalities, roses with unusual names, exclusive section of unique roses, roses named after countries and fruits etc. Efforts are being made to develop a section ‘Pride of India’, with exclusive collection of varieties evolved in India,” he said.

The plans are also in pipeline to have beds with amusing and interesting slogans, interspersed, which relates with the colour or type of the flower.

The administration also aims to have a backup system in the absence of which there are big gaps in flowerbeds. A fast rose varieties bank could be created that would save more than a year in preparing a plant.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Tourism has already sanctioned Rs 2.69 crore for the Rose Garden, which would be utilised for purchasing new varieties, development of a nursery, mesh and angle design for periphery, tourist information centre-cum-gift shop, installation of tubewell, signage and concrete edging of beds.

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.

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.