Punjab, Haryana, road ministry give thumbs up to Tribune flyover

The UT administration on Friday got backing from Punjab, Haryana and Union ministry of road, transport and highway (MoRTH) for its controversial Tribune flyover project. The Punjab and Haryana high court (HC) on November 20 had stayed uprooting and cutting of trees for the flyover project, virtually putting its construction on hold. The HC bench of chief justice RS Jha and justice Rajiv Sharma had also directed UT and governments of Punjab and Haryana to constitute a committee under the UT adviser, with members nominated by both the chief secretaries to look for solutions to deal with the traffic problem of the city in general, and the stretch between Tribune Chowk and Zirakpur in particular, so that trees could be saved.

Following the court directions, representatives from Chandigarh, Punjab and Haryana, including officials from the town and country planning, transport, finance and engineering departments, held a meeting at the UT secretariat, Sector 9, on Friday. The chief engineer from MoRTH was also present at the meeting, chaired by UT adviser Manoj Kumar Parida. Talking to HT, Parida, said, "All were of the view that the flyover was the right decision to decongest traffic at the Tribune rotary, and that it should be given the go-ahead.

Now we will hold a public meeting on December 23. We will submit reports of both meetings before HC." UT chief engineer Mukesh Anand gave a presentation on the project.

"The officials were of the view that minimal trees should be removed. They were informed that initially there was a proposal to axe around 700 trees, which was reduced to around 470 trees. Of the 472 trees, 143 could be transplanted," said a senior UT official, not wishing to be named.

Officials, who attended the meeting, said the contention that the flyover will shift the traffic congestion to other rotaries was incorrect, adding that there was no alternative to reduce traffic congestion in the area. "In case the roads are widened, more trees will have to be felled, and still the traffic chaos will not be eased," the UT official said.

On the impact of the project on the city's heritage and skyline, the officials concluded that as the city was planned for only around 5 lakh people, which had now doubled, a balance had to be reached between infrastructure development and heritage preservation.

"It was agreed that the stress should be laid on minimising the daily harassment to commuters due to traffic congestion," the official added.

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