There’s a fire in your neighbourhood. The fire brigade responds promptly. But the fire tenders, on arrival, find your colony gate locked and the guard missing.
Unlikely scenario? Not at all. Most colonies in the city have erected heavy iron gates on all their access roads. And more often than not, a majority of these unmanned gates are kept locked.
It’s ironical that these gates — installed with a view to securing residents — are the biggest impediment in the way of aid, in any emergency.
What’s more, practically all such gates are illegally installed.
Four years ago, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) mandated that no new gate would be installed without its approval. For existing gates to remain standing, MCD’s approval was to be obtained within six months.
Three-and-a-half years after the deadline expired, only 12 gates in the entire city have MCD’s approval. “To date, only 12 gates have been approved by us,” says MCD Commissioner KS Mehra.
To put the figure in perspective, consider the fact that E Block in Greater Kailash-I, which has only 400 houses, has 16 gates. Furthermore, there’s no official count of the total number of colony gates in the city.
Traffic police clueless about their role If MCD is clueless about the total number of colony gates, Delhi Traffic Police have no idea about their role in approving gates either.
As per the revised policy, the number of gates to be installed in a colony depends upon – among other things -- the nature and volume of traffic passing through it.
“All residents welfare associations (RWAs) need to obtain no-objection certificates from Delhi Traffic Police before applying to the deputy commissioners of their MCD zones for permission (to install gates),” says Deep Mathur, MCD spokesman.
However, Delhi Traffic Police are unaware of any such policy. “RWAs put up these gates for security reasons and it has nothing to do with traffic regulation. We are not required to provide no-objection certificates to RWAs,” says S.N. Srivastav, DCP Traffic.