Lack of political intrusion helps city retain its character envisioned by Le Corbusier


All these years, Chandigarh – known as the City beautiful — has mostly been able to retain its original character brick by brick only because of lack of political interference. Several city-based experts feel that had the city been in political hands completely, it would have lost its serenity and originality.

At present, for every little change, the administration has to refer to the Edict of Chandigarh, which was prescribed by Le Corbusier, the planner of Chandigarh. Heritage experts and urban planners term the Edict as a ‘mandated rule book’ on the city’s planning laid down by Corbusier as he wanted the citizens to become the guardians and saviours of the city.

Be it just the original heritage light fixtures at the Sukhna lake or the concrete colour of the sector 17 shops, the ownership for the city helped in keeping its originality intact due to its no political intervention.

Experts, therefore, believe that a resolution passed by the BJP councillors of Chandigarh Municipal Corporation to demand a separate Assembly for the UT was problematic and held the potential to destroy the its orininal character.

Best of Express Premium

Paveela Bali, an activist, while speaking to The Indian Express said, “Chandigarh has been able to carve a niche for itself and maintain a certain character about itself because there is no political interference. Officials who hold important offices and are in charge of our city are intellectually inclined to making our city better, because they have a free hand to work only towards its betterment without having to govern it.”

Member of heritage protection cell, Ajay Jagga, who is also a lawyer stated, “The overall impression has always been that Chandigarh has been maintained well under the Central government without any influence from any political structure.The unique experience of governance of Chandigarh, since 1966 — with a bureaucratic head i.e. Chief Commissioner till 1983, and then by the Administrator (which is an additional charge with the Punjab Governor) has been very good. We have been able to maintain the original character of the city, including its skyline.”

He, however, added, “The 14th Constitutional Amendment has given powers to the Parliament to create an Assembly in any area. tehrefore, a call must be taken after following procedures of debates and discussions and after taking opinion of the residents.”

“Certain segments in the society feel that the bureaucracy is calling the shots without taking the political parties into confidence. However, this system has faced and passed the test of time. An administration run by a political party is yet to be seen and it has to stand the test of time. So we cannot be absolutely certain at the moment that the Assembly will prove to be a great idea. It is also to be remembered that the neighbouring states have scant respect for its periphery laws and it has resulted in haphazard growth all around their cities, badly impacting the infrastructure,” he added.

Chandigarh residents opposed having a flyover

Residents from all quarters, including children, turning up in droves at a public hearing to oppose the construction of a city’s first flyover is not something you get to see everyday. And yet, that is exactly what happened in Chandigarh when MP, Kirron Kher, tried to push for a flyway project to solve the city’s traffic problems.

Such is the love and ownership for Chandigarh that residents had opposed the cutting of several hundreds of trees for the flyover, and even opposed its construction. The case is still pending in the Punjab and Haryana High court.

Many urban planning experts had said that a flyover was not teh olution to the traffic problem in the city and it would make Chandigarh lose its original character.

if the UT had an Assembly, such projects would be routine as the law making would rest in the hands of political representatives who would be the sole owners to decide the fate of Chandigarh.

Read the full article at:

Leave a Comment