Haryana’s new Assembly building project flouts UT’s master plan?

After pursuing the matter for more than a year, a location for the new Haryana Assembly building has been finalised in Chandigarh. However IIA UT Chapter while opposing the project claims that it is in conflict with the city’s master plan. A report by Rajendra Khatry

The Haryana government’s decision to construct a separate building for Vidhan Sabha has drawn flak from many quarters. Due to space constraints in the existing Haryana Vidhan Sabha building, Haryana has been feeling the need for the construction of a new Vidhan Sabha building in Chandigarh.

After pursuing the matter for more than a year with Chandigarh authorities, a location for the new Haryana Vidhan Sabha building has been finalised out of the three sites offered by the Chandigarh administration. The new building with a large space will cost around Rs 550 crore, according to a rough estimate.

Along with a separate Vidhan Sabha building, Haryana is also pursuing a separate High Court building for the state for which it has made certain moves.

For a separate Haryana Vidhan Sabha building, Haryana Speaker Gian Chand Gupta, along with CM Manohar Lal Khattar, recently went to inspect the three sites offered by the Chandigarh Administration near Chandigarh Technology Park in Manimajra before finalising one of them. But even as the Haryana government goes ahead with the plan of constructing a new Vidhan Sabha building, objections have been raised to the building plan from many quarters, especially from the Architects body of Chandigarh.

According to Haryana Vidhan Sabha Speaker Gian Chand Gupta, the lack of space in the existing Vidhan Sabha has been hampering work for a long time and there is need for a new building much bigger in size. Gupta said that in the present building, they could not provide modern facilities. Gupta said that during the Covid pandemic in the last two years, they had to make members sit in the visitors’ gallery, much to their inconvenience.

“The existing Haryana Vidhan Sabha building is small according to our needs. We don’t even have separate space for ministers to sit. There will be more space constraints in future. After delimitation in 2026, the strength of the House could go up. So we need a new Vidhan Sabha building to fulfill our needs now and in near future,’’ said Gian Chand Gupta.

But the Indian Institute of Architects (IIA), Chandigarh Chapter, has expressed grave concern over the proposal to have a new building for Haryana Vidhan Sabha in Chandigarh. Senior functionaries of the IIA Chandigarh Chapter immediately shot a letter to the Home Minister, Chief Ministers of Haryana and Punjab and the UT Administrator, saying that the proposed building near the railway station on IT Park Road in Chandigarh will be a clear violation of the city’s master plan. The IIA argued that any such move will be nothing but tinkering with Chandigarh’s unique character.

Objecting to the plan, New Haryana Vidhan Sabha building, IIA Chandigarh Chapter wrote to Home Ministry, CM, UT Administrator seeking immediate intervention to stall the project, terming it a violation of the master plan. It will be disastrous for Chandigarh, the architects’ body said.

According to SD Singh, chairman, IIA Chandigarh Chapter, it has requested to consider other options for the Haryana plan to have a separate building for Vidhan Sabha. “The idea of making a new Vidhan Sabha will be against the master plan of the city and it may invite huge criticism at International level,” said SD Singh.

Another critic of the Haryana plan, Surinder Bahga, former Chairperson of Chandigarh-Punjab Chapter said that Chandigarh is considered as one of the best experiments in urban planning and architecture in India after Independence.  “The new Vidhan Sabha building plan will destroy Corbusier’s concept of city planning’’, he said.