Republic Day Speech 2009 Ladies & Gentlemen! My heartiest felicitations to you on the occasion of 60th Republic Day! This is a sacred day for each one of us, when we come together to pay tribute to the freedom fighters and martyrs who laid down their lives for the sake of the independence and sovereignty of our nation. Today we remember the extraordinary contribution of all those, who have toiled to build a free and modern India. Chandigarh, in itself is a Mini India symbolizing a truly dynamic City, with a success story of growth and development, achieved through public partnerships.
The Administration has made great strides in every field, with a special emphasis on ensuring social justice, safe and secure environment, high quality civic life and equal opportunities for everyone to grow. Adding another milestone, the City has become the first Plastic Free city after becoming the first Smoke Free City of the country. Various mega projects including Le Corbusier Center, Education City, Modern Terminal Market, Housing project for Slum Dwellers, Warehousing project, Milk Village etc. are in the pipeline.
The upcoming Chandigarh International Airport will further boost the stature of Chandigarh at the national and international level. The Administration is dedicated to provide proper facilities to disadvantaged sections, senior citizens, economically weaker sections and has undertaken various schemes. Two landmark projects namely AASHA KIRAN – A vocational training Centre for differently abled and AASHREYA – A home where the mentally challenged, would learn and live with comfort and dignity, have been launched.
Both these prestigious projects focus on empowerment and creation of an ‘Inclusive & Barrier- Free Society’ with an aim of securing all rights of disabled persons in a practical way. The first phase of the Street Children Home & Vocational Training Center at Village Maloya, a project set up of Rs. 7. 40 crore has already started. The second phase would be functional soon which will accommodate 300 street girls for empowering them. The Tourism Industry in the city has witnessed paradigm shift consequent to various initiatives taken by the Chandigarh Administration.
Chandigarh Tourism has won Today’s Traveller Platinum Award for the most Responsible Tourism Plan of 2008. Efforts are being made by the Administration for getting the name of the city in UNESCO’s permanent World Heritage List. In order to pay homage to the creator of Chandigarh and great French Architect Le Corbusier, the Le Corbusier Centre has been launched in Sector 19. The Center showcases and exhibits the multifaceted life and works of Le Corbusier, to acquaint future generations with the rich cultural heritage of the city.
Apart from organizing cultural events pertaining to the region, the Administration has also organized cultural events of other states. A major initiative was ‘Poompoohar 2008’ which was jointly organized by the Chandigarh Administration and the Tamilnadu Government. The Health and Family Welfare of the residents is always paramount. The first phase of the Regional Center for Mentally Handicapped in Sector 31 will be operational shortly providing comprehensive training and education to at least 1000 mentally challenged children.
Facilities like diagnostic and medical care, training, counseling for the prevention of disability and training facility for the parents and guardians of the mentally challenged children will be made available. New facilities of Bronchoscopy and Computed Radiography System have been installed at Government Multi Specialty Hospital, Sector-16. Trauma Unit with emergency operation theatres has also been added in the GMSH 16. In order to provide assistance to the people residing in the backward areas of the city, Health Melas are being organized from time to time.
The commitment to provide good facilities and infrastructure for health is being further reinforced by major infrastructural additions. The Administration is building a new OPD Block which will cost around Rs. 8. 46 crores, in the Govt. Multi Speciality Hospital, Sector 16. In addition, the work to have a new E-block, which will cost more than Rs. 23. 00 Crores, has already started in the GMCH-32. In the coming year the Administration also proposes to create additional infrastructures for various dispensaries, polyclinics and health facilities.
The issue of Education has always remained at the top of the Administration’s priority list. With the incessant efforts made by the Administration the decks are finally cleared, for setting up the Education City, at Sarangpur Institution Area, with the signing of 9 MoUs with the Chandigarh Administration. We have further strengthened the Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan and expanded the Mid Day Meal Programme up to the upper primary level. We are also establishing new techniques to build high quality model Schools. Special emphasis is being laid on the Placement Cell in each college for curbing unemployment.
The Chandigarh Administration has taken initiatives for promoting Chandigarh as a Knowledge City and has received huge investments from various IT Companies. The Rajiv Gandhi Chandigarh Technology Park (RGCTP) once completed will create more than 60000 IT jobs. Already, more than 8000 IT professionals are working in the RGCTP. I am happy to inform you that this year till November 2008, the software exports from RGCTP alone have crossed Rs. 400 Crores. Infosys has completed its second software development block and Tech Mahindra and Bharti Airtel are expected to operationalise their Centres by April 2009.
Similarly most of the BTS sites are also under development. As a part of e-Governance initiatives, the Department Information Technology has made technology available at grass root level through Sampark Centers and e-Gram Sampark Centers. As many as 27 varied Public Utility Services are being provided from 10 e-Sampark Centers in different parts of the city and 13 e- Gram Sampark Centers spread across the villages of Union Territory. These centers have given major relief to the rural people by providing one stop solution centers in their neighborhood.
In order to ensure transparency in its delivery mechanism, the Department of Food & Civil Supplies has initiated the process of a smart card based Public Distribution System. The Detailed Project Report has been approved by the Government of India and the process of selection of the partner is in process. The Administration has dedicated two major projects to the residents of the city including the Beant Singh Memorial & Center for Performing and Visual Arts and a New Lake in Sector 42. These two projects, have given city residents a major fillip, especially those residing in the Southern Sectors.
With the reopening of the spruced up Tagore Theatre costing about Rs. 9 crore the city will witness more and more cultural activities. Though we have limited villages in U. T. of Chandigarh, it is a commitment of the Administration to provide city like facilities in the villages. While drinking water facility, sewerage, storm water have already been extended to the villages, in the next financial year the Administration proposes to provide city-like street lights and start shifting from tube-well-based water supply to canal-based water supply for the villages.
Plans in this regard are already being prepared. Those villages which have come within the MC limit, have also been planned by the Municipal Corporation for up-gradation of all types of infrastructure including roads, street lights, water supply, storm water community centers, parks etc. We have all faced the problem of increasing traffic day-by-day in Chandigarh. The Administration, being conscious of this fact, has taken initiative to improve the roads. On this we will spend Rs. 26 crores on improving the existing roads, on widening and four-laning of roads of Chandigarh and also on route No. for Panchkula from Dakshin Marg, which is likely to be operational by May 2009. This has been a long pending demand of the residents of City which, I am glad, is being fulfilled. The residents of the city have been clamouring for large number of changes in the building rules of Chandigarh. After due deliberations with different stake holders and after a long time, the Chandigarh Administration has made larger number of people friendly and need based amendments in the building rules, which I am glad, will go a long way in meeting the day-to-day requirements of the people of Chandigarh.
In addition, various processes for clearance of building plans etc. are also being streamlined so that people do not face any problem. The Sports infrastructure of the city is among the best in the country. Lately, the opportunity given to the UT Administration for holding the “54th National School Games 2008-09”, a Sports extravaganza, with more than 31 states and UTs participating has proven that the city possess State-of-the-art sports infrastructure required for hosting such National Events.
The credit for this goes to the Sports Department which has been striving for not just creating world class infrastructure but also maintaining it. Soon, Floodlights would be installed at Cricket Stadium, Sector 16 and a new Astroturf Hockey Stadium and a New Basketball Court at Sector 42 would also be set up. The City Beautiful has an edge over entire nation as the young shooter Abhinav Bindra, brought laurels to the country by winning the first ever Olympic Gold in an Individual category. The Administration has taken up major initiatives in making Chandigarh a Slum Free City.
The Chandigarh Housing Board will provide housing to 25,728 slum dwelling families thus making the city beautiful a Slum Free city. The Administration is also conscious of the housing needs of its citizens and as such plans have been made by the Board to provide more than 13000 houses in the UT. The implementation of providing more houses has already started with 2200 dwelling units of different categories already under construction. Keeping in view the recent advancements in the technology and the imperative need for conserving scarce natural resources, CHB plans to go in for construction of Green & Intelligent Buildings.
It is through our consistent efforts that the City Beautiful is known as the Green City of India. The Green cover of Chandigarh is 35. 7% of its total geographical area. The Botanical Garden has been developed over 176 acres and has the rarest medicinal plants, apart from being a walker’s paradise. The Department is also in the process of establishment of a world class aquarium. In order to contain pollution and encourage clean fuel in the city, the UT Administration has started a drive to replace the existing Auto Rickshaws with LPG driven Auto Rickshaws.
The Chandigarh Police is among the most organized and Tech Savvy in the country. As per the recent survey conducted by one of the leading national magazine, Chandigarh has been rated as one of the top performing UT in handling law & order. Keeping in view the need for cyber security, a Cyber Crime Investigation Cell has been established. In order to provide security to the tourists in the city, Tourism Police has been launched in the city with the combine efforts of the Department of Tourism and Chandigarh Police.
On the auspicious day, I on behalf of Chandigarh Administration convey heartfelt sympathies to the victims of the Mumbai terror attacks. Such unfortunate incidents are cowardly acts and will never shake the faith of the nation. The country will forge towards development and growth and deal with these elements with an iron hand. On this momentous occasion, I once again call upon all of you, for an active participation and contribute to the progress and prosperity of the city and the nation as a whole. I, once again, convey my heartfelt wishes to you all on this auspicious day. Jai Hind!