Rock Garden creator upset over planned car park

June 7th, 2009 - 11:36 am ICT by IANS  

Chandigarh, June 7 (IANS) Nek Chand Saini, who created the artistic marvel of Rock Garden in Chandigarh with bits of broken ceramic, glass pieces, old tyres and other rubbish, is worried that a proposed multi-level park adjoining the garden will spoil the aesthetic ambience of the major tourist attraction.
“As per the plan for the multi-level parking, the entrance gate of the third phase of the Rock Garden and a portion of the wall would be demolished. This will destroy the serenity and splendour of this garden,” Nek Chand told IANS.

“Visitors are finding it difficult to reach the garden since the existing parking area has already been dug up. They can build the parking area on the other side to avoid all this inconvenience,” he added. Nek Chand started building the garden, spread over 30 acres, in 1958. It was opened to the public in 1976 and is visited by about 5,000 people everyday.

The administration gave the nod for construction of the multi-level parking for lawyers and visitors to the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

“It is really sad that officials just announce their illogical decisions from inside their air-conditioned rooms without consulting us,” said Nek Chand.

A few months ago, Nek Chand ran a widespread campaign involving local residents to protest against the attitude of the administration towards the Rock Garden. Following that, a budget of nearly Rs.2 million was announced for the garden’s beautification.

An official, giving reasons for construction of the new parking area, said: “The multi-level parking is of utmost importance due to the increasing rush at the high court, but we have no plans to intrude into the Rock Garden. We would certainly consult Nek Chand before taking any such step.”

In 1989, a high court official had proposed that a part of the third phase of the garden be demolished to make a new road towards Sukhna Lake. Nek Chand had to fight a legal battle to save the garden.

“The Rock Garden is a major source of income for the administration. They get millions of rupees from it every year but still some people are against its existence,” he said sadly.

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