Chandigarh MP Kirron Kher. (Source: Express Archives)
BREAKING HER silence over the proposed Tribune flyover, Member of Parliament Kirron Kher alleged: “people opposing the flyover are those who wanted plum positions in various committees of administration, the position of nominated councilors, contracts for their companies or extension of their wife’s contract in the government departments”.
In an exclusive conversation with Chandigarh Newsline, MP Kher said, “Maine koi flyover apne ghar thodi laana hai... It was for the convenience of the public that remains stuck in jams.”
Dismissing the overwhelming opposition from former engineers, architects, and others, the MP voiced, “What is my fault — only that I wanted to give relief to people stuck in traffic jams? Do you know who these people are who are opposing the flyover? These are those who came to me saying nominated councilor bana do, UT ki kisi committee mein koi membership dilva do, wife ka contract khatam hone wala hai wo extend karva do... it is very easy for them to sit in clubs and say flyover should not be there. Ask the address of these people, they stay in posh sectors of Chandigarh. What about those people who stay in Bapu Dham, work in Industrial Area and all those places which are genuinely affected by the heavy traffic there at the Tribune chowk.”
She added, “These people never came to me with their holistic plan about the traffic problems in the city. All these architects who are coming out with solutions want that they should get contracts for their companies, everyone has vested interests in it.”
On uprooting 400 trees, Kher bluntly said, “Let them stand hugging these trees. They should answer me. Those who say metro will serve the purpose, how many trees will be uprooted for it? Hundreds and thousands and then these RWAs will stand and say mere yahan is area se metro mat nikaalo. The problem is that these people have so much time to give their opinions. Why didn’t these retired engineers who are coming up with solutions now do something for the city when they were in service?”
On the charge that the flyover will ruin the city’s heritage, Kher said, “Tell me how will it ruin the heritage? This flyover is not being constructed near Capitol Complex. It is on the outskirts. Chandigarh is a modern city, it is not Mughal architecture. Even cities like Jaipur have flyovers, we are not tampering with the heritage. Moreover, trees are being replanted. Aur theek haina, nahi banana mat banao, raho takleef mein. I just wanted that people should not get stuck in jams.’’
She added, “The traffic will not pile up at Sector 32 chowk because (Union Minister Nitin) Gadkariji had said it can be extended to the city’s end.”
MP Kher claimed members of a group were intentionally sent for the public hearing. “You do one thing and 25,000 critics stand up. Interestingly, (they are) those who are not directly affected by the problem. Where in the world does the government knock at the door of citizens to ask do you want a flyover?”
When told that the ring road would divert the traffic from outside the city, she answered, “If traffic problem has to be solved, one project has to be supported by various others. Why don’t these people do carpooling for their children? But then all these people send one car with one kid to school. And on days when the schools are closed, there is no congestion.”
Lashing out at former Union minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, Kher said, “He says underpasses will do. I want to ask him why he didn’t make underpasses during his tenure. He was here for 25 years, why didn’t he do anything for the city’s traffic? And to all those who keep saying metro, do they even know that around Rs 16,000 crore will be spent on it, and Chandigarh cannot get this sum recovered. Punjab and Haryana don’t even pay their rent to us, do you think they will contribute a penny to our metro?”
Tribune flyover is one of the pet projects of MP Kirron Kher. However, the work stalled after the Punjab and Haryana High Court stayed the cutting of trees for the flyover. A public hearing on the directions of the High Court was held in which the majority of attendees opposed the flyover. The Rs 184-crore project was approved by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways. The department of urban planning has been objecting to it but the engineering wing cleared the project.