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HindustanTimes Tue,02 Sep 2014

HT goes the extra mile for Gurgaon

HT Correspondent , Hindustan Times  Gurgaon, September 09, 2013
First Published: 02:48 IST(9/9/2013) | Last Updated: 02:50 IST(9/9/2013)

HT's Gurgaon edition, in its new avatar since May, launched three campaigns for voicing the most pressing of the concerns of the city's residents.

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In its initiative "Your Gurgaon, Your Voice" in May, HT reported issues ranging from people's aspirations, civic infrastructure to health, education, safety and recreational activities.

This was followed by another campaign on safety and security issues for over 10 days.

The people's verdict was: "We deserve this kind of coverage on Gurgaon".

And what has created a buzz around the city is the ongoing "Taking a Toll" campaign that took off on July 29 and has completed 41 episodes so far.

"HT has taken up the micro issues of Gurgaon as no other major media house had ever done. The campaigns rendered a voice to the people of the city and several changes took place due to these efforts.

"The people are now being heard and real problems are being highlighted. Thanks for taking up issues which affect the common people," said TN Kaul, general secretary, Gurgaon Citizens' Council, a pressure group.

After outlining a macro picture of the city, HT realised that beneath its sparkling malls, corporate persona, cosmopolitan culture and great show of opulence, another Gurgaon was uneasily co-existing - a city plagued by massive security challenges. It was based on a startling finding by HT-Cfore survey that over 80% women felt unsafe at public places in the city.

HT highlighted the underlying facets of the problem - street crimes in the absence of adequate police presence, long stretches devoid of streetlights, absence of an adequate public transport system, unruly and unchecked auto drivers among other things.

The response even of authorities was overwhelming: streetlights got fixed and police presence at sensitive areas was increased out of many others. After HT's story on crime-prone dark stretches on May 27, the municipal corporation of Gurgaon (MCG) announced that it would dole out R10crore for fixing GPRS-controlled LED streetlights on its roads in the next couple of months to help the police curb crime.

Then HT turned its attention to a problem that has become a thorn in the side of perhaps all residents of the city, a project that had been originally conceived to be the pride of the city: the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway.

"HT's campaigns have made people aware of the issues that matter to them. We have got to know the actual contribution and performance of the stakeholders in various public facilities. This is a very good way of educating the masses and fastening the activity in the public sector," said RS Rathee, vice-president of Toll Hatao Sangharsh Samiti (THSS).

From the physical to the psychological, HT ventured into all the aspects of the expressway and the tyranny of the toll plazas. Ten acclaimed experts from myriad walks of life joined HT and several others lent their expertise and experience to this crusade of sorts.

Result: Joint commissioner of police (traffic) issues public notices to the agencies concerned; the concessionaire DGSCL pulls up its socks for a change and acts to install oncoming traffic warning mirrors; NHAI sloughs off tardiness and takes penal action against the concessionaire for having left the expressway to dereliction.


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