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Gurgaon Shining or Dying

Last updated: February 23 2013
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  • #71

    #71

    Re : Gurgaon Shining or Dying

    info on power outages online for citizens

    while this is welcome, it will be even more usefull if there are lesser and lesser outages .

    --------------------------------------------
    It is quite a relief for residents as the official website of Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (DHBVN) has a separate link putting out information on scheduled power cuts on a 24-hourly basis. Along with the hours of the outage (start time and end time), the discom has a column explaining the reason for the cuts like overdrawing or fault in lines, etc.

    To add to this, the Haryana power minister, Ajay Singh Yadav, has announced that the consumers will be able to lodge complaints online.

    The new system will not only record the time of complaint register but will also fix a deadline for grievance redress.

    The power minister said that under the system of grievance redress employees will have to redress grievances in a timely manner, else the system would automatically escalate the complaint to the next higher authority.

    "There are fixed number of days for redressing each complaint after which the complaints would automatically be sent to the next higher official on the hierarchy list," said Yadav. The next officer will also get the stipulated number of days for redress of the grievance after which the grievance would move up in the hierarchy.

    Eventually, the grievance would reach the inbox of the officer highest in the hierarchy - the director and then the managing director.

    Also, consumers who do not have access to the internet can go to the sub-divisional officer of the discom and get their complaint registered. Also, if a consumer does not have the basic knowledge of operating a computer, the discom officials will have to file the complaint on his behalf.

    This system will register all types of complaints including commercial matters, billing, metering, connection, system expansion and system upkeep. For best results, one can also lodge a complaint on the helpline number.

    Comment

    • #72

      #72

      Re : Gurgaon Shining or Dying

      lets walk gurgaon a citizens organization exploring hidden greens of gurgaon

      How much can a morning walk mean to you? A drear-eyed stroll to the neighbourhood park or a round of the colony to keep yourself fit? If that is all that comes to your mind, meet Let’s Walk Gurgaon, lovingly called LWG - a 2000 plus community of early morning walkers in Gurgaon who are exploring the satellite city like never before.

      These adventure lovers together discover the untouched greens of Gurgaon - its villages, hills, ‘developed’ and ‘undeveloped’ biodiversity spots and wildlife. Alongside, they make new friends, enjoy a weekly picnic and discover the joys of a morning walk completely anew.

      This group has been running, rather walking, for over two years now. Sehba Imam, a writer and resident of DLF Phase III, Gurgaon and the brain behind this group informs Metrolife, “As a writer, I often scribble into the wee hours of night. One such night in 2010, after I finished work around four in the morning, I decided to take my dog out for a walk.”

      “We wandered into the biodiversity park close to my house and I was astonished to see how beautiful it looks at dawn. After a two-hour long, literally eye-opening walk, I came back home and informed my friends about it. Together, we decided to go for more such walks and in fact institutionalise it in the form of a Facebook group. Within a month, we had 200 members and now it is 2000 plus and counting.”

      She adds that it includes school and college students, housewives, professionals and anyone who wants to join them. The youngest regular walker in the group is a four-and-a-half year old, who drags his mother to the excursions every morning, and the oldest is a 65-year old who little minds the cold and the steep climbs.

      Earlier, they used to go for one walk a week - Saturday mornings, 4:30 in summer and 6:30 in winter. Now they have started a monthly full-moon night walk as well. One or two persons do a reccee beforehand and then the whole group follows it.

      Sehba says, “We generally start from a village like say, Sehjavas, Tikli, Mangar, Damdama or Bhondsi Ashram and then meander into the Aravalli foothills nearby. We have discovered beautiful green spots, lakes, wildlife like whole families of foxes, neelgai, peacocks and other birds.”

      “We have breakfast together and make new friends. It is also a great opportunity to teach your children discipline, organisational skills and team work. We always move together making sure no one, whether children or the elderly, are left behind.”

      There is one more unexpected benefit of these morning excursions. Sehba says, “When we visit a village, especially in the small hours, people always have this fear that the inhabitants may harm them. The urban-rural divide in Gurgaon is anyways
      infamous.”

      “Fortunately though, in our more than two years of walking, we have never had any unpleasant incident. The villagers welcome us into their homes, enquire about our walks and even offer hookah, chhachh, chai etc. It really helps bridge a mental gap we carry in our minds today.”

      LWG has mapped many green nooks and crannies of Gurgaon already but they insist that there’s plenty more to unravel. Sehba says, “We want to do it all as fast as possible. Many forests we saw a year back are plots for flats and malls now. Who knows if Gurgaon stays the same in future or not?”

      Comment

      • #73

        #73

        Re : Gurgaon Shining or Dying

        Originally posted by Amitsharmaa View Post
        Hello.. U R right !! what do you did after that...?
        I moved to another country.

        Comment

        • #74

          #74

          Re : Gurgaon Shining or Dying

          Originally posted by canman View Post
          I moved to another country.
          which country ?

          Comment

          • #75

            #75

            Re : Gurgaon Shining or Dying

            article on golf course road upgradation project

            Head: Faster Connectivity | EPC World

            DLF-HUDA 16 lane Expressway, now a hassle free ride for commuters in just seven minutes, Lovina Kinny takes a closer look…

            Hassle free ride in Delhi’s satellite town, Gurgaon, will now become the new mantra. To clear traffic bottlenecks, country’s real estate major DLF in association with the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) is building a 16-lane dedicated corridor linking DLF’s Gateway Tower in Cyber City to the Golf Course Road. This will also bring to an end the nightmare of nearly 1.5 million residents and commuters from outskirts of Gurgaon working in cities numerous offices.

            “The objective is to provide optimum solution for traffic movements in the area based on present and projected traffic demand in future,” says Rohit Malik, VP – Planning, DLF Ltd.

            When asked for the reason that made the realty major to foray in the road construction business, Malik clarifies, “DLF is not entering into the road construction business. The project has been undertaken to facilitate traffic movement from NH-8 to sector 55/56 where a number of residential and commercial projects have already come up, and are also under development.”
            The `600 crore project is being executed under a cost sharing agreement between HUDA and DLF “…and is not really a joint venture,” states Malik. Phase-I of the project is estimated to cost around `450 crore which will increase to approx `650 crore after implementation of phase-II.

            While HUDA will contribute towards this project from its EDC corpus earmarked to upgrade the road sector, DLF will be contributing the balance funds to upgrade this spinal road to world class standards, he further informs.

            HUDA will also facilitate/ expedite various approvals from government agencies like the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), Haryana Vidyut Prasaran Nigam Limited (HVPNL), Forest Department and other internal departments of HUDA. “This will ensure speedier implementation,” adds Malik.

            There exists number of encroachments on the corridor however; HUDA has been proactive in removing some of these encroachments to widen the road. “Almost 95% land is now available, and the balance 5% land will have to be taken over by HUDA,” states DLF spokesperson.

            Characteristic Features

            The concept to upgrade this spinal road to international standards is developed by one of the leading international consultants AECOM. The contract for project execution has been awarded to IL&FS Engineering and Construction Company Ltd, while renowned international consultant Parson Brinckeroff is the Project Management Consultant.

            The 10.5 km signal free corridor is divided into two chainages. First chainage is along NH-8 of 2.2 km i.e. from DLF square to toll plaza and second chainage is of 8.3 km – from Gateway tower junction to Sector 55/56. The expressway will have 6 underpasses and one flyover.

            According to Malik, the concept plan has been revised by AECOM, the design consultant and lane width is changed to 3.5 m which is as per IRC standards.
            Traffic merging into this corridor and branching out had to be segregated from the main corridor. “Six-lane carriageways on both sides of NH-8 would be constructed from the toll plaza to DLF Square building to streamline traffic and feed into 16 lane road,” states Malik adding “there is a dedicated corridor for Sector 25 to Sector 55/56 to mitigate traffic conflict and thereby enable smooth flow of main traffic.”

            In addition, there will be Slip Roads between NH-8 Service Roads and Cyber City Area, two Unidirectional Underpasses near Gateway Tower Junction, two Unidirectional, U-Turn Underpasses near Building 5 and 7B, 6-lane Bidirectional Underpass at Sikanderpur Junction and Arjun Marg, and 3-Lane Unidirectional Flyover at Sikanderpur Junction.

            The toll-free road will provide commuters with an uninterrupted drive all along the stretch including DLF Phase I, II, IV and V, Belvedere Park and Belvedere Tower, Sectors 55, 56, 58, 59, 60 and 61. “The major consideration while designing this expressway was to ensure that a high speed, signal free corridor should be available for traffic from NH-8 to Sector 55/56,” says Malik.

            The expressway has been designed to take maximum traffic possible and as per the urban planning standards, the corridor is designed for average speed limit of 60 km/hr. “It is expected that this plan will provide solution to the current traffic congestion scenario for a long period,” opines spokesperson.
            Further, a utility corridor has been designed to facilitate future maintenance of utilities without causing any nuisance to public. “Utility shifting and traffic diversion will be a challenging task as the project is in urban area and an IT hub therefore, phase wise construction will be implemented to reduce the impact of these obstacles.” For underpass drainage, micro tunneling is being used to avoid any flooding during heavy rains.

            The road is seamlessly integrated into the urban infrastructure which comprises of sewerage, drainage systems and other utilities making it an integral part of the urban system.

            Technology & Sustainability

            To ensure smooth and pothole free roads, latest technologies have been used to execute the project. This will enable uniform utilization of 78 meter right of way from Gateway Tower, in DLF Cyber City to end of Gurgaon Sector 55/56 corridor.

            The contactor has been instructed to follow IRC and MORTH standards for design, says DLF spokesperson, “and they have to incorporate proper drainage while designing the road.”

            For quality supervision, we have hired Parsons Brinckerhoff, an internationally renowned consultant, for project management consultancy. While for safety, supervision will be done through CCTV cameras in critical areas, he further adds.

            All electrical OHE HT lines will be diverted through underground cabling in a dedicated corridor from NH-8 Junction to Sector 55/56 whereas all OFC/Telecom cables are to be relocated in dedicated corridor.

            The Expressway will also help in achieving greater energy efficiency and environmental responsibility. Says Malik, “Keeping in view aesthetics and urban environment, underpasses have been conceived instead of flyovers. Moreover, the underpasses and a long flyover will enable commuters to reach the Golf Course Road from the Gurgaon toll plaza within seven minutes from current 30 minutes and also reduce air pollution as well as fuel consumption on this expressway.”

            After completion of the maintenance period the corridor will be handed over to HUDA. “There is no revenue generating model for this road upgradation project. It will enhance Gurgaon’s infrastructure,” states Malik.
            The new road project will be fully integrated with the alignment of the rapid Metro, is expected to be operational in the next 36 months offering some relief from crumbling infrastructure in Delhi’s suburb.

            Comment

            • #76

              #76

              Re : Gurgaon Shining or Dying

              what gurgaon can learn from Greater Noida

              FG: The Greater Story

              Gurgaon and Greater NOIDA live and breathe in the same Region (NCR), but their origin and subsequent development has forced the cities to assume different characters. While Gurgaon represents the might of private builders, and has real estate driven growth, Greater NOIDA is the product of a bureaucratic system that is often dysfunctional and inert in its functioning, but has managed to deliver a city with a futuristic outlook.

              The success of the Greater NOIDA experiment perhaps lies in the creation of an independent Authority manned by able administrators, who were given a comparatively free hand in planning and decision making by the political establishment. Gurgaon was primarily handed over to private builders – turning it into a maze of glitzy malls, shining offices, and gated residential colonies. This has unfortunately led to a failure of urban planning, and the pangs of growth and greed are now being felt across the City – that is crawling due to inadequate and poor infrastructure.

              Greater NOIDA stands out in stark comparison, as it has a comprehensive Master Plan for an urban conglomeration. City watchers say that when Gurgaon was witnessing a construction frenzy led by builders, Greater NOIDA was developing civic infrastructure – that includes a solid road network, drainage, sewage, water supply and underground power infrastructure. This has taken it miles ahead as far as urban facilities are concerned.

              Yogender Sinha, a senior official of the Greater NOIDA Authority, says that the creation of an independent authority to manage the controlled area has been a master stroke for the urban development process. “The idea was to promote a planned development, integrated with industrial development, for achieving the NCR Plan objective of dispersal of population and economic activities outside Delhi. It also aimed at low density development, coupled with regional level institutional and recreational activities to serve the entire Region, and to create ample work opportunities,” says Sinha.

              The Greater NOIDA Authority acquired around 90,000 hectares of land from farmers, and developed the key infrastructure; and only after that was it given to private developers for building residential colonies. In Gurgaon, the reverse has happened, as the Department of Town and Country Planning issued licences wherever these were applied for, and the developers kept on building apartments irrespective of whether the buyers would be able to commute, live and breathe in that space. It is perhaps for this reason that increasingly the residents in Gurgaon are out on the streets fighting both the builders as well as the authorities, over poor external and internal civic infrastructure.

              Greater NOIDA, in comparison, is a picture of serenity. Sinha says that the road network has been planned in a way that the area does not require signals, and nowhere are the roads choked. The minimum width of the sector roads in Greater NOIDA is 12 meters – more than Gurgaon. Every plot is park facing, and sewers and water pipelines have been provided on both sides of the road, so that these are not dug up every time a house owner needs a connection. Pollution is far less as compared to other areas in the NCR, as there are more green spaces, and power supply is adequate.
              Greater NOIDA, which has close to 3 lakhs population – and is projected to go to 12 lakhs by 2021 – has planned green space that accounts for almost 16 per cent of the area developed by the Authority.

              Arvind Mohan, an official, says that the most important facet is a very strong monitoring system, which ensures that works awarded by the Authority—whether these are related to sanitation, sewage, maintaining parks or other works—are executed as per the laid-down standards. “There is a team of 20 officials who keep a check on the ongoing maintenance work,” he asserts, while pointing out that the multiple agencies in Gurgaon are weak in this respect. His view is supported by a former Haryana bureaucrat M.K Midha, who admits that the Millennium City has to do a lot of learning and catching up. “Gurgaon today has grown so much so fast that it needs an overarching body that can co-ordinate the functioning of various agencies. Gurgaon has a far better location and proximity to Delhi, that gives it an advantage – but we will lose it in the times to come,” he warns. The monitoring process of various agencies in Gurgaon needs a lot of overhauling, he adds.

              Clearly, the localisation of the Authority is key to not only the resolution of Greater NOIDA’s problems, but in also looking at them holistically. It is clear that while the Greater NOIDA Authority plans for the long term, and resolves the present while sitting in the City, Gurgaon’s over-dependence on Chandigarh, and the political mood of the masters, has led to lopsided planning and numerous operational problems. Nisha Singh, Ward Councillor, and an activist, recently sparred with the Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda during a conclave in Gurgaon over the lack of powers of MCG. She told the Chief Minister that MCG has not been able to perform because the files get stuck in Chandigarh, and Councillors do not have any powers to get the work done.

              In comparison, Sinha says that the Greater NOIDA Authority is fairly autonomous: to plan for development, carry out maintenance works, and ensure that the systems work properly. In fact, throughout Greater NOIDA it is hard to find open sewage, or garbage and trash lying in different parts of the City, or stray animals, or potholed roads like Gurgaon. While Gurgaon is facing major trouble over the toll plaza, and it is a nightmare to reach home in the evening, the drive from many parts of Delhi to NOIDA and Greater NOIDA is far smoother. Although there are traffic bottlenecks, the decision to connect Greater NOIDA with the Metro network, at a cost of around Rs. 5,000 crores, is likely to act as a major catalyst.

              Compared to the major infrastructure projects that have come up, and are coming up, in Greater NOIDA and the surrounding areas, a number of projects in Gurgaon are stuck due to various issues. The Northern Peripheral Road, which promises to connect the City with Dwarka, is stuck; the work on the Southern Peripheral Road is going on a snail’s pace; and a recent RTI has revealed that the work on the prestigious KMP Expressway is almost stalled. The DMIC Corridor projects, such as the Logistics Hub at Rewari and the Convention Centre at Manesar, are also moving at a very slow pace. Midha suggests that the major infrastructure projects in and around Gurgaon will have to be accelerated to give it an edge over its neighbour in the NCR.

              While Gurgaon may not be great on planning, a HUDA official says that the decision to develop the new sectors has been modelled on Greater NOIDA, and individual companies have been asked to develop the internal sectors’ infrastructure. The master network will be created by the government agencies. But here too the developers have outpaced the authorities;
              a large number of real estate projects have been launched and completed in Gurgaon II (new sectors), even as the provision for water, power and sanitation is yet to be created.

              It is here that the importance of an overarching Agency, which builds and monitors, comes to the fore. Rajesh Gautam, a resident of Greater Gurgaon, says that Greater NOIDA (GNIDA) officials ensure that the builders do not go haywire, and stick to a plan. “It is ensured that infrastructure is available before residents move in, else there will be chaos as is happening in Gurgaon,” he asserts.

              Sinha says that the Greater NOIDA Authority Master Plan is so comprehensive that it even includes the signage network; no one can display hoardings anywhere without approval. “Only the original allotees can display their boards,” he adds. The residents of Greater NOIDA are also happy that water supply is regular and adequate, and they need not install pumps and water purifiers to use it. Pawan Singh, a senior journalist, says that a proper planning of the requirements has been done, and recently three underground reservoirs were built to cater to the future demand.

              Although Greater NOIDA does not get 24x7 power supply, the power cables have been laid underground, and are not seen hanging – as is in the case with Gurgaon. Interestingly, the Haryana government had last year shelved the plan for underground cabling in Gurgaon II (new sectors), on cost considerations. So even Millennium II now lags behind Greater NOIDA!
              When asked about the decision-making process and planning in the Authority, Sinha says that the reduced bureaucracy has led to improved functioning.

              The decisions are taken much faster, as the CEO is the fourth level in the overall hierarchy, and is very approachable. “The daily problems are resolved at the middle level, and mostly serious and planning level issues are taken to the highest level, as there is clear delegation of powers,” says Mohan. On the issue of corruption and political interference, the officials get a little circumspect, but assert that it is much less compared to other cities and organisations.

              However, some problems do plague Greater NOIDA. Like Gurgaon, it is also finding it tough to assimilate the villages and the local population, which is almost one third of the total. Villages have been concretised, and are heavily populated, as in Gurgaon – because the housing for EWS seems to have gone for a toss in Greater NOIDA as well. A large number of industry workers seem to be living in these villages. Sinha claims the villages are being helped by the Authority, for improving infrastructure, schools and health facilities. However, on the ground the change in not much visible. The recent land acquisition issue has also brought the Authority in direct conflict with the villagers, who had refused to sell their land. It was only after the NCR Planning Board approved the Master Plan that the Supreme Court allowed development of new projects. Sinha admits that land acquisition has set the Authority five years behind schedule, as a number of plans and proposals have slowed down. But he says that the area will rebound, adding that such problems exist everywhere.

              Further, the transport system is quite inadequate, and residents say it is very difficult to travel between NOIDA and Greater NOIDA. Pranav Gupta, a student who attends a college in the Knowledge Park, which has emerged as a major education hub, says that travelling is a major hazard. “We never get buses, and if one gets them there is constant haggling over fare. The seats are uncomfortable, and buses are jam-packed,” he asserts. While in Gurgaon the traffic police is overwhelmed with too much traffic, the
              roads are emptier in Greater NOIDA. Newly developed residential sectors, educational institutions and hospitals are not adequately connected.

              The Knowledge Park at Greater NOIDA has almost 113 educational institutions, which run numerous colleges, providing education to almost 1 lakh students. Devender Singh, a resident, says that the Authority has done well to divide the area into industrial, commercial, and institutional quarters, while giving a good weightage to greenery and other facilities. “In comparison, Gurgaon is far behind, as it does not have a well-defined land usage,” he says.

              Sarika Bhatt, an urban planner, agrees to this, and complains that in Gurgaon wherever there is land, real estate developers are allowed to build on it, irrespective of its effect on the immediate neighbourbood. Right in the middle of commercial areas you will find apartments, and office cabs can be seen zipping in residential colonies, as a major software park comes up suddenly, she says. The rampant changes in the Gurgaon Master Plan, which has seen three notifications in the past couple of years, is also cited as an example as how planning should not be done.

              Urban experts aver that with Greater NOIDA coming up with a knowledge hub, it will put a question mark over the proposed education city being developed in Sonipat. In addition, the various proposed hubs along the KMP will also be affected, as the road itself is yet in progress.

              Bhatt says that Gurgaon was built first and planned later – akin to a process called retrofitting. Experts agree and say that recent projects like Rapid Metro, conversion of a sector road into a Freeway, the building of master sewerage pipe lines, upgradation of power infrastructure, and new water storage structures—all coming up after the City is bursting at its seams—are part of this retrofitting. Statistics show that while property prices in Gurgaon are still rising, new jobs are not coming. Many would be surprised to know that NOIDA has a job growth rate of almost 14 per cent.

              The industrial unrest in major industries in Gurgaon has also added to the problems, as some of multi-nationals are preferring to go to other states – and NOIDA is also an option.

              The onset of expensive realty, even higher rate of rentals, and high cost of living has turned Gurgaon into a very costly city. In a recent interview, Xerox MD Rajat Jain, astonished at the high cost of living here, said that this City is even more expensive than Mumbai. Jobs particularly related to BPOs are also moving out to low cost destinations, because of these reasons, said Bhupinder Singh, CEO of Serco. The departure of some companies has even helped NOIDA and Greater NOIDA, as infrastructure is a lot better there, the cost of office space still less, rentals comparatively low, while the daily needs prices are almost at par.

              Gurgaon scores over Greater NOIDA in lifestyle. It has a score of malls, fine dining restaurants, pubs, clubs and golf courses that cater to a population looking for an international lifestyle. The City also has a per capita income which is almost 40 per cent more than NOIDA, and industry watchers say that it will take a lot of effort to attract the entrenched multinationals to NOIDA. Real estate veterans in Gurgaon further say that success of a city depends on three things – location, location, and location. The Millennium City is fortunately located near the international airport.

              It seems that while Gurgaon is happy to rest on its laurels, Greater NOIDA is planning well ahead. In terms of connectivity, the Taj Expressway, a solid rail network system (including the Metro), and the Faridabad-NOIDA-Ghaziabad Expressway will open up the area very well. This is apart from the great City infrastructure. The competition is on, and it remains to be seen whether the empowered bureaucrats who plan to the T, will win the race – or will the might of the private developers prevail.

              Comment

              • #77

                #77

                Re : Gurgaon Shining or Dying

                How an optimum use of RTI has been able to bring about some changes

                FG: An In-form Activist


                When Aseem Takyar filed his first RTI in 2007, to know why the ESI/PF cards of his factory’s workers were not being delivered on time, he did not know that this action would change his life forever. Within a couple of days of filing the RTI, the department—which had been dilly-dallying for months—delivered the documents, and also ensured that he remained in good humour. Takyar has now filed almost 2,000 RTI applications, has asked questions from all levels of the government, taken up cudgels on behalf of Gurgaonites as well as people in other parts of the country, and has become a full-time Information Activist. His goal is to bring more transparency and accountability in the system, and he has complete faith in the power of the RTI Act. “Once I started to get more information I realised that RTI could be used to shake up the system.” His latest RTI application has forced the Haryana Police to file a Special Leave Petition (SLP) with the State High Court.

                Takyar had asked the Haryana Police how much money and resources were being spent on providing security, vehicles and other support staff to MLAs and MPs. “The Haryana Police denied an answer, saying that it could compromise the security of important state functionaries. However, the State

                Information Commissioner, and even the Court, did not agree to the contention put forth by the Police. Hopefully we will know soon what cost the people have to bear to protect their representatives,” he asserts. Last year it was an application filed by him with the Gurgaon Fire Department that led to the purchase of ladders that could reach the tops of multi-storied buildings.

                The RTI Act has led to a free flow of information, which was earlier kept wrapped up as a secret, and did not allow healthy debate on issues that are relevant to people, Takyar asserts. He further says that democratising of information and knowledge is crucial, as it leads to balanced development, and provides equal opportunities to all. The involvement of a large number of NGOs in the development process has also ensured that RTI applications are now used on a large scale, to detect inefficiencies in the implementation of various schemes launched by the government – such as MNREGA, supply of food grains, and massive building of infrastructure across the country, he adds.

                In cities like Gurgaon, where the Administration has failed to keep pace with the growth, Takyar has constantly asked questions which have forced them to wake up. For instance he asked HUDA as to how many times the underground and overground tanks for water storage had been cleaned, and why boards were not fixed at the site to inform the schedule for cleaning. “This is public information, and HUDA has to provide it. As result of the RTI the Department was asked to fix the boards across the State. However, it is important to get such orders implemented both in letter and spirit.

                The ownership by government departments is important,” says Takyar. “There is no proper mechanism to check whether the directions have been complied with or not. Many time officials try to give misleading information, just to satisfy the authorities,” he says.

                In another instance, his RTI application forced the authorities to act when he found that two post offices in Gurgaon—one at Udyog Vihar and another in DLF Galleria—were not booking railway tickets because of non-availability of blank ticket rolls. “I was surprised by the non-functioning of the postal department for such a reason. I filed an RTI with the railways, as to why this was happening, and within a couple of days the booking counter started functioning,” informs Takyar. A couple of weeks ago, he asked the MCG to reveal how it had spent almost 75 lakh rupees on capturing stray dogs and pigs, while there was no perceptible change on the ground.“There is rampant corruption and no accountability in the system. But the RTI has given us a tool which enables us to ask prickly questions. Many times it has led to positive action,” he says.

                Villagers across India have managed to pin down doctors, health workers, teachers, public distribution officials and employment generation programmes, using the RTI applications effectively.

                “This Act has allowed people to get the requisite information, and take the concerned officials to task for non-performance,” he says. Many times the system starts working merely with the filing of the application. However, in cases where the corruption is entrenched and political interference is high, as in the case of real estate in Gurgaon, it is difficult even for an RTI activist of his calibre to scratch beyond the surface. Takyar had tried to get information about the various ‘Change of Land Use’ orders issued by the Haryana government, that favoured some people. This information could not be obtained as there was political pressure, and all channels were tried to dissuade people who had filed such a contentious RTI. Apart from a few cases, he has been able to get information about the various issues related to governance, and public projects of the State and central government.

                Another positive of the RTI Act is that is has helped in increasing the participation of citizens in the poverty alleviation and socio-economic development programmes. The RTI empowers people to question the feasibility, targeting, implementation and goals of a major government project, and has led to a citizen-centric approach to development, says Takyar. It was an RTI filed by Takyar which forced the DTCP to act on EWS Housing, and the Gurgaon DC was asked by the Department to get information about the implementation of the scheme by various private builders. This led to an official acknowledgement that the EWS scheme was not working, and was being manipulated by the builders for their own benefit, he asserts.

                Takyar filed an RTI with DHBVN when he found that the rate of burning of electricity meters was as high as 20 per cent every year, and consumers had to bear the brunt. “I have asked the department why it is not stopping companies that supply poor quality meters. This loss to the public could not have been revealed without the RTI application. The government needs to look into this, and the public must put pressure to end this menace,” he asserts.

                Another strength of this Act is that Section 4 calls upon the central and state public authorities to suo motu provide to the public the information as prescribed therein, so that the public has to take a minimum recourse to the use of this legislation for obtaining information. Takyar says that the provision for seeking information as provided in Section 6 of the Act is very simple. A citizen has to merely make a request to the concerned Public Information Officer (PIO), specifying the information sought by him. The fee payable is reasonable, and information is to be provided free of cost to citizens living below the poverty line. An individual can file an RTI concerning central government departments even in a post office; the disinterest shown by postal authorities forced him to file an RTI, asking why some officials were not designated as PIOs. This led to a change, and now post offices have designated officials to handle complaints, he says.

                The RTI Act gives the citizen the right to inspect work, documents and records; take notes, extracts or certified copies of the documents or records; take certified sample of material; and obtain information in electronic form, if available. After the implementation of the Act, Takyar says that transparency has improved, as officials are now wary of issuing incriminating orders, include file notings, as these are now needed to be put in the public domain. Efforts are also being made to implement the programmes seriously, as state functionaries know that questions can be asked about the same, he adds.

                When asked about the functioning of RTI Act in Haryana, he observes that there is lack of information and training about the Act in the State. Across the board, the officials are not interested in sharing information, and an RTI application revealed that only 12 training programs were conducted by HIPA last year in Gurgaon. “The officials do not know about the Act, they are not trained to handle applications, and this leads to appeals and more delays,” he complains. Lately, the Haryana State Information Commission has become more active, after Naresh Gulati took over as the State CIC. Takyar says that the holding of a Camp Office in Gurgaon has given a new lease of life to the Commission, as there are a large number of activists from Gurgaon who are using this tool to help ensure improved governance.

                The State must find ways to implement the Act in letter and spirit. “The private sector companies, which have a major impact on society and the economy of the country, and are working closely with the government, should also be brought under the gamut of the RTI Act. The private companies are scaling up like never before, and they need to be made accountable,” he asserts. Takyar also wants that PIOs should be made responsible for their acts, and should be penalised for withholding information.

                When asked about threats to, and the intimidation of, RTI activists, which has been on the rise in the past few years, he says that it is the duty of the system to protect whistleblowers and activists. “If people are revealing information that saves the tax payers’ money and reduces corruption, then they must be protected,” he asserts. His own goal is to keep on filing RTIs in the larger public interest, so that development becomes citizen-centric, and the weaker sections also get their due.

                “It is surprising that the Prime Minister’s Office is more open and co-operative than the local HUDA or HSIIDC,” he says.


                To make it easier for the people across Haryana to get information from the State Information Commission, RTI applicants from this week will be able to attend the hearings from their district head quarters, through video-conferencing. Takyar says that since people from distant parts of the State had to visit Chandigarh multiple times, he had requested the State Information Commission to install a video-conferencing facility. “Since all the DC offices in Haryana already have this facility, the applicants can now go to the DC Office and attend the hearings,” he says.

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                • #78

                  #78

                  Re : Gurgaon Shining or Dying

                  Gurgaon hospital gets cutting-edge technology for cancer detection - The Times of India

                  Comment

                  • #79

                    #79

                    Re : Gurgaon Shining or Dying

                    2 underpasses near nh8 to help traffic jams

                    These plans address the issues of traffic jam on accessing the NH8 . Hoipe they will see light of the day soon .

                    2 underpasses will ease rush: experts - Hindustan Times
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                    To ease traffic congestion at Signature Tower crossing, the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) is considering construction of two underpasses or tunnels at the intersection, which connects the city to the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway.

                    A joint team of Indian and Italian engineers and architects on Friday did a reality check of traffic snarls at the under-the-flyover crossing near Signature Tower during peak hours. The team also surveyed Iffco Chowk and Rajiv Chowk crossings.

                    An Italian engineer, who was part of the survey team, said, "Two separate tunnels can be constructed near Signature Tower. One to give a freeway movement to traffic coming from Huda City Centre and heading towards Iffco Chowk and the other tunnel will provide signal-free movement to vehicles from Maruti plant side towards Manesar."

                    The construction of two tunnels will solve the traffic problem to a large extent. The tunnels will not cross each other but they will boost traffic movement without any pause, the engineer said.

                    The surveying team members said they are also looking at the possibility of cloverleaf interchanges but the cost of two tunnels would be much cheaper.

                    The NHAI's apprehension is that the tunnel construction may damage the pillars of the existing flyover.

                    "That is why we are first working on the underpass possibility. It will take 10 to 15 days to prepare the design and we would submit it to NHAI, Haryana Urban Development Authority and the Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon," said Tarun Mathur, a bridge designer.

                    However, he said that the construction of cloverleaves would be difficult because of space crunch. Land paucity is a big hindrance at all under-the-flyover crossing points on the expressway.

                    A senior NHAI official said the underpass or cloverleaf would not damage the expressway. "We would give permission only after we see the design," the official said.

                    Comment

                    • #80

                      #80

                      Re : Gurgaon Shining or Dying

                      Gurgaon top cop to overhall traffic management

                      The new police chief has started well, hope he is able to deliver qualitative change to Gurgaon traffic situation and the security situations.

                      Gurgaon top cop to overhaul traffic department, revive 3rdEye - The Times of India
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                      Police commissioner Alok Mittal plans to restructure the traffic wing in the coming days by making cops more responsible for their jurisdiction. The new commissioner also plans to revive old projects like 3rdEye, among others.

                      Mittal said the move is aimed at bringing more transparency in the traffic wing, besides increasing the visibility of cops on the roads. To this effect, the department is looking into ways to increase the strength of traffic cops as well.

                      As part of the initiative, Mittal said, the responsibilities of zonal officers and traffic inspectors will be laid out properly. In case a complaint is received or a report of traffic jam or any other issue is received, we will be able to pin-point the duty of the cops accordingly, Mittal added.

                      A meeting of all stakeholders, including the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA), the Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon (MCG) and the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI), among others, has been planned to look into pending traffic issues. Accordingly, the traffic police will update the list for further pursuance.

                      While Mittal agreed that there is a shortage of cops in the traffic wing, he said he would try to cull out cops from various other police wings to deploy them in the former. "As of now, we will not be able to add more than 15 to 20 cops, but even this number will help in daily functioning," he said.

                      At present, there are 300-odd cops deputed in the traffic police. DCP (east) Maheshwar Dayal, who has the additional charge of joint commissioner of police, is also acting DCP (traffic). The two most ambitious and hi-tech projects of the traffic police - 3rdEye and e-challaning - have been lying in cold storage for a long time now. Incidentally, both the projects were started around one and half years ago when Mittal was posted as Gurgaon joint commissioner of police.

                      Mittal said he was working in this regard as well and would try to revive them soon.

                      Launched in October 2011, the e-challaning project could not cross the pilot phase after Mittal was transferred from the district.

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