Master plan 2031
S S Bhatti
Former principal, Chandigarh College of Architecture
It is a well-documented historical fact recognised worldwide that Chandigarh was built on the master plan developed by Le Corbusier - and no one else has prepared another master plan since the inception of the city in 1951. But one gets the wrong impression that `Chandigarh Master Plan 2031' has been authored by the committee of architects and planners constituted by the Chandigarh Administration. The correct and unambiguous title would have been "Review of Le Corbusier's Master Plan 1951". The `draft master plan' should have anticipated the problems Chandigarh is likely to face until 2031 and `Action Plan' for their solution put in place, without reducing the name of Le Corbusier to a footnote of history.
Inconsistency is another problem caused by the fact that different chapters were reportedly written by different members of the committee, which did not have a team leader to read the resulting writeup to establish continuity and remove contradictions.
Another problem is that the entire writing tends to be speculative because scientific fieldwork has not been done. Now that we have this document in hand, it is high time that we undertake fieldwork studies to draw up a concrete 'Action Plan' before it is notified by the Chandigarh Administration.
We should wage an all-out war on encroachments and lack-lustre implementation procedures to save the City Beautiful from further deterioration. An effective method would be that the Central Government adopt Chandigarh as "National City"and set up an autonomous Chandigarh Inter-Disciplinary Planning, Development & Monitoring Authority, with statutory powers, headed by a distinguished professional.
The Department of Urban Planning and the Engineering Organisation would work under the stated Autonomous Authority.
If we could ensure harvesting of colossal quantum of rainwater in the 8-kilometre-long monsoonal gorge that runs through the Leisure Valley, and reroute the two National Highways 21 and 22 from out of Chandigarh, we would have made an historic achievement.