No bus stops; commuters spill onto expressway, trigger chaos
In the absence of bus shelters on the Delhi-Gurgaon expressway, commuters are forced to wait for buses and cabs on the carriageways, putting their lives in danger. Besides, the commuters obstruct the high-speed traffic too.
Shankar Chowk, Iffco Chowk, Rajiv Chowk, Hero Honda Crossing and Signature Tower Chowk are some of the trouble spots on the expressway. Motorists often flout the 80 kmph limit as the road is signal-free. The police have done precious little to streamline the traffic along the expressway, where one can see cabbies picking and dropping commuters anywhere they like.
According to the city police data, 29 of the 65 people who were killed in road accidents on NH-8 this year — from January to June — were pedestrians.
"As roadways buses do not halt at designated stops, passengers are forced to get down in the middle of main carriageways, leading to chaos. Commuters often come in the way of high-speed traffic resulting in accidents. Although we have taken up the matter with the Haryana Roadways, nothing has been done so far," said a senior traffic police official.
Even traffic police also stop erring truck drivers abruptly on the main carriageway of the expressway. Such actions have led to pileups as high speed vehicles hit stationary vehicles.
"Cab and bus drivers often flout lane norms. By stopping in the middle of the road, they are not only endangering their lives but also of others," the official added. "There is no concept of dedicated bus stops here. We have to run after buses to board one. It's risky but what can we do? The government must do something," said Sanjay Sharma, a commuter.
For the past five years, I have been living in Gurgaon along with my family. We came here from Delhi to experience the so-called ‘life in Millennium City’. However, the hype has only led to disappointment till now. My office is located in Udyog Vihar, merely 3km away from my home.
But, it takes me a minimum 20 to 25 minutes to get there. Congested roads, narrow lanes and dangerous driving make me weary of driving in the city.
There is no dearth of potholes and most roads are uneven.
It is apparent that the contractor who build these roads has compromised on the quality of materials.
At home, power and water are a perennial problem. We pay extra to ensure a round-the-clock supply of bare essentials. Similarly, safety and security has been a prime concern and the complaint seems to get longer by the day.
I do not want to simply lodge complaints but want the administration to involve residents and develop schemes through exchange of ideas on a regular basis.
As a citizen, it's my right to complain about shoddy facilities, but working towards a good administration is always the better way to solve problems.
In Delhi, the Bhagidari system and several other forums involve senior citizen and women to help make the surroundings better.
The Gurgaon administration needs to do something similar.
The writer is an entrepreneur and a member of the governing body, ladies wing, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci). She is a resident of Gurgaon One Apartments, near Kapashera.
How can you tax Gurgaon without basics in place, SC asks Haryana
Describing the lack of facilities to the residents of Gurgaon as “shocking,” the Supreme Court on Friday said the Haryana government or the Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon (MCG) had no business to collect property taxes from them when they had failed to provide basic amenities like sewer and drain in the “so-called most posh colonies in the National Capital Region (NCR).”
“Do you have sewer lines or fresh water or even drainage system? How can you levy a tax for maintaining a service that you don’t even have?,” a bench of Justices D K Jain and Madan B Lokur said.
“No property there is worth less than Rs 1 crore. However, they don’t even have basic facilities. What have you done regarding providing external services, particularly drains and water? You tell us in an affidavit what external and internal services you provided for these township colonies,” said the Bench.
The court was also anguished by the absence of a counsel for the Haryana government and decided to call its Principal Secretary (Law) to explain lapses in their representation and to clarify their stand on providing basic facilities to Gurgaon residents.
The court was hearing petitions by NGO ‘Gurgaon Citizens’ Council’ and a resident of the area, challenging notices by the Gurgaon civic agency to collect property taxes from the residents.
GURGAON: In the past two decades Gurgaon has seen its boundary expand by a radius of nearly 8-10km. The past five years have also seen three master plans, announced in quick succession — of 2021 in 2007, of 2025 in 2011 and of 2031 in August 2012. The three plans, however, don't address power and water generation, storage and capacity building in any way.
According to Rohan Sharma, manager, research & real estate intelligence service, Jones Lang LaSalle India, "In terms of absolute numbers, the changes are incremental by less than 10%, which seem inadequate. As has been the trend, most such projections have fallen short. The revision has been necessitated by the growth already seen in the current period, and thus an over threefold growth in population has been estimated." Also, bringing areas not in the earlier master plan under development aids, benefits the speculators, land owners as well as realtors who have already acquired land before the area was brought under the master plan.
Gurgaon has been at the forefront of frenetic real estate activity driven by demand for office space and housing. The burgeoning population growth estimate and the robust nature of development, especially residential, has fuelled the need for a dynamic master plan exercise. Experts, however, feel the master plans are too ambitious.
"Issues such as power capacity building, environment impact assessment have not been addressed. The present state of road infrastructure raises doubts on whether the authorities have come good on their promises and if the projected plans will fructify in time," added Sharma. Several registrations were made by the district revenue department in the newly added residential sectors under Master Plan 2031 by real estate developers in 2010, 2011 and this year. The new registrations indicate that denotificaton of SEZ has been lucrative to realtors and the landowners who had not sold their land so far. Some of the major developers which purchased lands from farmers are Ramprastha Group, Orris, Bestech and DLF New Gurgaon among others.
When deputy commissioner P C Meena was asked whether there was any rule which restricts registration of sale deeds in areas notified under acquisition sections and allowing such registrations might lead to developers purchasing land at much lower rates from owners who fear land acquisition, the DC said, "The state has the best compensation policy and land owners must not fear."
Many a times farmers and landowners sold land at lesser than market rates, fearing their land would be acquired by the government, says Dr Sanjay Sharma, managing director, QuBREX. Senior town planner R K Singh confirmed that a massive area demarcated for SEZ has been changed to agricultural land, residential and commercial zones. The value of the land would have appreciated by 5 to 10 times by this change, says Sharma. So much of the residential & commercial zone in these new sectors has the potential to move the centre of gravity of Gurgaon from the left side of NH-8 to the right side towards Manesar.
GURGAON: On the one hand, the government has made rainwater harvesting mandatory for every household, on the other hand it has killed a natural water body in Ghata village, leading to constant flooding of partly constructed Southern Peripheral Road (SPR), also known as Golf Course Extension Road.
The sorry state of SPR is a glaring example of how filling up of the Ghata lake and the natural nallah to develop Sector 58 to benefit realtors has led to flooding in this part of the city. That's not it, million of gallons of rainwater is going waste.
The situation is so bad that basements of several multi-storey apartments and commercial complexes get flooded. The developers and maintenance agencies then have to pump out water, which again floods the road.
Ghata lake, a seasonal water body, was documented in the Gazette of India (1883). The natural lake and the bund used to have enough water till Dussehra, say villagers. This also helped in recharging groundwater. However, vested interests of realtors led to gradual degradation of the lake with creaks and crevices in the Aravali hills adjoining it destroyed. This prevents the rainwater to flow down through natural channels to fill the lake in Ghata village, which acted as a catchment area.
Villagers who sold their lands fearing acquisition from the state under the new master plans now express regret. Bhisham Pratap, 80, blames the government as well as the village youngsters for overlooking the impact of such mindless development which severely harms the ecology. "All shallow tubewells have dried up since there is commercial extraction of precious groundwater. Also, the roads and basements in the area are inundated regularly like several other parts of the city where builders filled natural drainage to construct buildings," he said.
According to officials in the irrigation department, the government now plans to make an alternative drainage as an outlet for water which accumulates in this water recharge zone. Even 30 minutes of rain floods the SPR, which connects the Faridabad-Gurgaon road to Sohna road. Stagnant water has damaged the road so much that it has become unusable in some places.
Environmentalists fear that the situation might worsen as the natural drainage pattern has been altered completely.
A group of women residents on Thursday staged a demonstration outside the office of Haryana Urban Development Authority (Huda) administrator to protest against the practice of dumping garbage on vacant plots in Sector 40.
The residents of Sector 40 have been demanding action against people who dump garbage on vacant plots, causing health problems for nearby localities. Moreover, they demanded the authorities to keep a watch on these areas, as these have become ‘dens of anti-social elements’.
The protesters also met Huda administrator Praveen Kumar and demanded action against those who dump garbage in open spaces. They also drew the attention of the administrator about the proliferation of slum dwellings in vacant plots. These dwellings pose security threat to women, they argued.
The administrator ordered the divisional engineer (survey) to submit a report on vacant plots in Sector 40. “We will take appropriate action against offenders,” said the administrator.
In this context, the administrator ordered the Huda estate officer to tell the owners of the plots to erect boundary walls around properties to curb misuse by anti-social elements. “Huda’s plots will also be identified and fences would be erected around them,” the administrator said.
A woman protester said, “We are fed up with the RWA, which has failed to take up the issue.”
However, president of the RWA Ram Swaroop dismissed the allegations. He said the association had met the administrator several times on the issue.
Shikha Jain, a protester, said, “There are 15 women in our group. We will take up all these issues with civic authorities.”
According to a rough estimate, 20% of 1,100 plots in the sector are lying vacant. The sector was developed by the Huda two decades ago.
Residents of several sectors in the city were appalled to know that lakhs of rupees were paid to the contractors for cleaning up roads, since they did not see any work being done in the past four months.
In an RTI reply, HUDA had claimed to have spent over Rs 61 lakh in three months on sanitation and clean-up work in over eight sectors and main roads in the old city.
Raman Sharma, who filed the RTI, said: "HUDA must find out on what basis these payments were made to contractors. How many trucks laden with garbage or mud were sent to Bandhwari for dumping and number of labourers and JCB machines used for cleaning up the roads." The RTI mentions the hefty payments to contractors for cleaning up roads in Sector 22 in January, February and March.TOI spoke to the residents and the residents' welfare association (RWA) of the sector to make a reality check of HUDA's claims.
Expressing shock over the claim of HUDA, the RWA president, Bhim Singh Yadav, said: "This is a scam if different contractors have been paid lakhs of rupees to clean up roads in Sector 22. There is hardly any labourer working in the sector, so HUDA officials must go back and check where the work was done and the money paid.Yadav said that the condition of roads inside the sector has worsened during the monsoon.
"This is a matter of probe that payments have been made for the work, even though no work has been done," said Yadav. In the RTI reply, HUDA has stated that the contractor, M/s Ram Premi Co, was paid Rs 4.69 lakh in January, Dharambir Singh Contractor was paid Rs 4 lakh in March this year for cleaning the road of Sector 22 alone. The RTI reply also disclosed that between January and March, Sheetla Mata Mandir road alone had been cleaned up.A TOI team that visited the road found that it continues to be in a shambles. "There is no improvement in the condition of the road and the officials did not check the quality of work before paying the contractor," said a resident, Rajeev Saxena.
Echoing Saxena's words, Bhawani Tripathi, a resident Sector 23, said: "I am surprised that the roads are not cleaned up in the sector and still huge payments are being made to the contractor. This is something which needs to be probed.In the RTI reply, HUDA has stated that for cleaning up Shankar Chowk and Sikanderpur, the contractor was paid Rs 2.51 lakh in March. "The condition %of the entire stretch between Shankar Chowk and Sinkanderpur remains pretty much the same. HUDA simply paid the money without checking anything," said another resident, Mahesh Yadav.
इन सेक्टरों की समस्याओं की जानकारी विभाग को मिली है। इसके बाद इंजीनियर्स को आदेश जारी किए गए हैं कि इनका समाधान जल्द से जल्द करवाएं।
-डॉक्टर प्रवीण कुमार, ऐडमिनिस्ट्रेटर, हूडा
इंजीनियर्स को आदेश दे दिए गए हैं कि 7 सितंबर तक सभी सड़कों की मेंटिनेंस करवा दें। अगर ऐसा नहीं किया जाता है तो लापरवाह अफसरों के खिलाफ कार्रवाई की जाएगी।
-पंकज कुमरा, चीफ इंजीनियर
दीपक आहूजा ॥ गुड़गांव
वैसे तो शहर को साइबर सिटी के नाम से जाना जाता है। चौड़ी सड़कें और बहुमंजिला इमारतें बाहर से आने वालों का मन मोह लेती हैं। लेकिन यहां के सेक्टरों की हालत काफी खस्ता है। जिन सेक्टरों में हूडा के अधिकारी रहते हैं उनमें भी बुनियादी सुविधाओं का अभाव है। इसका खामियाजा यहां के रेजिडेंट्स को उठाना पड़ रहा है। अधिकारियों से शिकायत करने के बावजूद कोई समाधान नहीं हो पा रहा है। इसके बाद उन्हें समझ में नहीं आ रहा है कि वे इनके समाधान के लिए कहां जाएं।
सेक्टर-27 में ऐडमिनिस्ट्रेटर डॉ. प्रवीण कुमार का निवास है, जबकि चीफ इंजीनियर पंकज कुमरा सेक्टर-40 में रहते हैं। सुपरिंटंेडेंट इंजीनियर आदर्श कुमार गुप्ता सेक्टर 5 में और आर. के. कक्कड़ सेक्टर-31 में रहते हैं। लेकिन इन सेक्टरों में भी समस्याओं का अंबार लगा है। वे कई बार समस्याओं को लेकर अफसरों से मिले, लेकिन इनका समाधान नहीं हुआ। इन सेक्टरों में ऐडमिनिस्ट्रेटर का दौरा भी हो चुका है। उन्होंने इसे निपटाने के आदेश भी दिए हैं लेकिन कोई फर्क नहीं पड़ा।
सेक्टर-5 आरडब्ल्यूए के जॉइंट सेक्रेटरी दिनेश वशिष्ठ का कहना है कि उनके सेक्टर में कुछ सड़कों की हालत बद से बदतर है। कई मुख्य सड़कें तो ऐसी हैं, जहां फुटपाथ ही नहीं है। ग्रीन बेल्ट को भी सही ढंग से विकसित नहीं किया गया है। स्टॉर्म वॉटर ड्रेनेज भी कई जगह बंद हैं। बरसात के दौरान आधा फीट से लकर एक फीट तक जलभराव हो जाता है। सेक्टर-31 आरडब्ल्यूए के प्रेजिडेंट रिटायर्ड कर्नल मान सिंह का कहना है कि उनके सेक्टर में समस्याओं का अंबार है। यह हाल तो तब है जब हूडा के एक सुपरिंटेंडेंट इंजीनियर का आवास उनके सेक्टर में है। इन समस्याओं को लेकर जेई से लेकर ऐडमिनिस्ट्रेटर तक गुहार लगाई गई, लेकिन समाधान नहीं हो पा रहा है।
सेक्टर -40 आरडब्ल्यूए के प्रेजिडेंट रिटायर्ड कर्नल राम स्वरूप के अनुसार अधिकांश सड़कों की हालत बदतर अवस्था में है। बरसात के दौरान घरों के आगे आधा फीट से एक फीट तक पानी जमा हो जाता है। खाली प्लॉट में गंदगी की भरमार है , जिससे मच्छर व मक्खियां पनप रहे हैं। सेक्टर -27 आरडब्ल्यूए के पूर्व प्रेजिडेंट परमिंद्र सिंह का कहना है कि पार्कों की हालत बद से बदतर अवस्था में है। खाली प्लॉट में जंगली घास व पौधे उगे हैं। इनकी सफाई नहीं की जा रही है।
इस बाबत ऐडमिनिस्ट्रेटर डॉ . प्रवीण कुमार का कहना है कि इन सेक्टरों की समस्याओं की जानकारी उन्हें है। इंजीनियर्स को आदेश जारी किए गए हैं कि वे समस्याओं का समाधान जल्द करवाएं। वहीं , चीफ इंजीनियर पंकज कुमरा का कहना है कि इंजीनियर्स को आदेश जारी किए गए हैं कि वे 7 सितंबर तक सभी सड़कों की मेंटिनेंस कर दें। अगर ऐसा नहीं किया जाता तो लापरवाह अफसर के खिलाफ कार्रवाई की जा एगी।
CHANDIGARH/GURGAON: Rich, educated and armed with information on citizens' rights, Gurgaon residents are giving the Haryana administration sleepless nights with regular complaints and litigations.
The trend started right from the beginning when the administration unveiled the plan to develop Gurgaon as the Millennium City in July 2006 when around 1,800 objections were filed by various residents' bodies.
According to Haryana principal secretary, town and country planning department, S S Dhillon, this is the highest number of complaints the department received against any development project so far. He said residents are very active due to their influential background and take no time in filing court cases. "Gurgaon is inhabited by the rich and famous and well-read groups, hence they want overnight changes in the system," Dhillon said.
"We admit that there are certain areas where we have not been able to keep pace with the development. But, this is only due to certain technical hurdles like litigation in acquisition of land for water and sewage lines and roads and electrical infrastructure. Things are moving but people want us to do things today which we have planned for 2021,'' said Dhillon.
His remarks have evoked sharp reaction from the residents welfare associations. According to residents' societies, the administration failed to heed their complaints when the draft master plan was notified in 2007.
"Litigations are reactions from residents towards non-responsive attitude of the Haryana government and departments responsible for civic amenities. Even after four years, we are not aware of the fate of objections we raised against the master plan. Where will residents go if they don't get civic amenities," asked Bhawani Shankar Tripathi, an office-bearer of Mission Gurgaon Development, an umbrella body of residents' associations in Gurgaon.
R S Rathi, who took up the case of depleting ground water level due to excessive construction activity to court, said, "Only those who are concerned about the city will take up such issues. In fact, these issues are only raised when government fails to perform its duty. This trend of litigations clearly shows the awareness level of residents. Government cannot escape from its responsibilities."