Y.S. RANA, CHANDIGARH—Small in size but big at heart does not seem to hold true for City Beautiful any more whose ‘Open Hand’ symbol symbolizes the spirit of giving it to others. Sand-witched between Punjab and Haryana, the city has left with little scope for horizontal expansion. It was disclosed in a meeting of committee that had formulated Chandigarh Master Plan-2031 in 2010 stated that Chandigarh has no space to accommodate increasing population and stresses will be on augmentation of essential services and facilities in the coming days.
City’s population is expected to touch 20 lakh by then and at present city will need 60 dispensaries; 15 polyclinics; 600 nursery schools and 200 primary schools for the over-flowing population.
As per official records, Chandigarh has a total area of 28,170 acres. Major part of the city which is about 19,389 acres is covered by the residential sectors from Sector 1 to 63. It has 1,272.56 acres of Defence land; 316.28 acres of railway land; reserved forest accounts for 2,718.10 acres and Manimajra spread of 963.69 acres. All these figures sum up to 24,659 acres, stated the official.
The peripherial area is apread over 14 square kilometers of land, out of which approximately five square kilometers has already been acquired and 5.05 square kilometer is under acquision. Hence, the city has left with only 4.17 square kilometers of land. Given the shortage of prime land and estimated population over 20 lakh there will be a shortage of health, educational and other facilities. “It will be indeed a Herculean task for the Chandigarh Administration to accommodate the future population,” said a member of Chandigarh Master Plan committee. With increase in population there will be decrease in civic services.
City has at present generated around 56.25 million gallons of sewerage per day. By 2031 the city will have to require 800 million liters of water and more than 1000 MKW of electricity. The official admitted that pressure on Chandigarh was mounting by the day with City Beautiful emerging as a hub of economic and other allied activities. There was no dearth of resources but there was a need to focus on new urban planning to accommodate increasing population, new cities should be developed and that was the only option, he added.
Can it be possible while the city is aspiring becoming smart city? Is a question needs to be answered.