Industrial area with a difference in Chandigarh

Here’s a classic misnomer. It’s called the Chandigarh Industrial Area. But there are no noisy factories, no smoke billowing out of tall chimneys and no trucks lined up on pot-holed roads. Instead, there are swanky malls with multi-screen theatres, luxury car showrooms, an ever-increasing number of hotels and other flashy outlets. In fact, it’s the new address in town.

The Industrial Area is fast becoming the newest destination for big ticket investment for shopping malls, hotels and other commercial establishments. Though two malls with multi-screen theatres and over a dozen hotels were already operational in the area, the recent opening of the Elante Mall, an L&T Realty enterprise, has started attracting crowds in large numbers.

The mall, arguably the biggest in the region and spread over some 16 acres, has brought some of the best known international and Indian shopping brands to the city. It also has multi-screen theatres, an upcoming hotel, office spaces and more.
In and around the other malls, the best luxury brands of cars - from the top-end Rolls Royce to BMWs and others - rub shoulders.

“It is a good thing that the industrial area’s character is changing with malls, hotels and other good things. These go with young look of Chandigarh. Anyway, no one has ever heard of any big names of the industry from the city,” said Ritesh Malhotra, a software professional.

With people from the city and nearby areas of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh coming in big numbers to the malls and hotels, the industrial area is already feeling the pressure.

“Parking space inside the area being limited, hundreds of cars can be seen parked on the roads outside. This leads to chaos, traffic jams and other problems. The traffic police can never be seen to manage traffic. It seems that the Chandigarh administration gave permissions for the malls and the like without bothering to put the other infrastructure in place,” entrepreneur Puneet Bhalla said.

Most people add a word of caution too. “Known for Chandigarh’s service sector, lots of commercial hubs with malls, theatres, hotels and car showrooms has come up. But excess of everything is bad. Chandigarh should be known as edu-city, solar city, planned city but not only as a mall city, or a hotel city,” chairman of Aryans group of colleges Anshu Kataria said.

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