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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.

Old is Gold in Chandigarh Aug 07

“Holiday Inn”, one of the oldest hotel chains in the world, established in 1942 in Memphis, Tennessee, at Burail village sounds strange. But it’s true. The location of this hotel is equally strange. It is on the upper floors of shops, which include a country liquor shop.

In absence of any policy on the naming of guesthouses, owners of such establishments are using misleading names to attract customers. For instance, a hotel “Swagat”, which is also a popular South Indian chain of restaurants, also exists in Burail too.

It’s not only the fancy names that are a cause for concern, but also the use of brands by these guesthouses and hotels in Chandigarh. Another international brand “Comfort Inn” too finds its namesake in Sector 17.

As per rules, the guesthouses cannot brand themselves as hotels, but in absence of any checks, every second such establishment in the city is named as such.

It can be gauged from the fact that the ambience of Himachal is being encashed through naming a guesthouse as “Hotel Himachal View”, running from an SCO in Manimajra, or “Hotel Himachal Palace” in Burail. And not the least, “Sunview” from Sector 35 Hotel “Jain Sunview”, actually an SCO in Sector 35. Ironically, there are over 18 such guesthouses in Burail or around 14 in Sector 22 market, five in Sector 17, six in Sector 35, six in Manimajra.

A Tribune team attempted to take note of these guesthouses and found over 55 such guesthouses which are being run either from SCOs or SCFs, without paying the mandatory composition fee or getting their plans approved from the competent authority to run as hotels.

Ironically, these “hotel managements” have webbed a strong nexus with taxi drivers, auto drivers and rickshaw pullars, who get commission for luring the tourists to these places and tourists, too, are easily taken for a ride with swanky brand names.

On the first floor of many of these structures are tyre-repair shops, liquor vends and chemist shops. Their room tariffs, too, depend upon the customer’s ability, anything between Rs 700 and 2,500. Some also happily agree to provide shelter on hourly basis. Rs 800 for three hours was their average rate.

Further investigations revealed that operators of these so-called hotels hardly make any verification or maintain any “check-in” and “check-out” register. The “C” form which carries information about the foreigners, staying in the town, has no significance for them. By law, every hotel, which accommodates any foreign guest, has to deposit this mandatory form with the area police station. Sources in the administration said a survey showed that more than 200 guesthouses and hotels have come up in Kajheri and Attawa too.

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.

Chandigarh Railway Station is All Set for Renovation Jul 02

Chandigarh railway station is all set for renovation to the tune of Rs 1 crore, where in it will have a new over bridge and a wider circulating area for upgrading the facilities.

Now, the frequent travellers will not complain about lack of space at the station, as the plan to improving the circulating area is in the pipeline.

The Railway Ministry will probably give a green signal for renovating the railway station in the Railway budget likely to be announced on Friday.

At present, the station has 1-ft over bridge, which gets crowded in the peak hours, making it difficult for the passengers to boarding trains.

The divisional railway manager, HP Jaggi said: “The present over bridge connects platforms No. 2, 3, 4, and 5 is very narrow. When the trains reach, the passengers face problems crossing the bridge. Thus, another foot over bridge is likely to be constructed on the right side of the station for which around Rs 80 lakh will be invested.”

The parking lot of the station had been revamped recently, he added.

Meanwhile, the railway station will soon have packed meals available for the commuters. Sources said the authorities concerned had approved a vendor who would be selling the packed meals in the circulating area.

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.