It was a year of struggle for the Haryana Urban Development Authority (Huda), which is responsible for the development and maintenance of a major part of Gurgaon.
The authority ran into a fund crunch as land compensations and legal battles dried up its kitty. By September, Huda could not pay its contractors, who staged several protests and stopped working. This delayed several important infrastructure projects — Northern Peripheral Road (Dwarka Expressway), Southern Peripheral Road and Central Peripheral Road.
The authority had to borrow Rs 15 crore from its headquarters in Chandigarh to pay the contractors and ensure projects in Gurgaon were not stalled. The fund crunch also delayed maintenance works in the city’s residential sectors, forcing the development authority to look at ways to monetize its assets.
What made things worse was the administrator of Huda’s Gurgaon chapter changing thrice this year. Anita Yadav was shunted out following a spat with deputy commissioner TL Satyaprakash over a land acquisition case in Pataudi. Anshaj Singh replaced her, but held the position for hardly two months. Now, the administrator of the development authority is Hardeep Singh, who plans to give Gurgaon a facelift as it will host the two-day Haryana investors’ summit in March.
In May, Huda was embroiled in controversy when its officials razed a slum cluster spread across 17 acres in Fathehpur Jharsa village. Villagers clashed with officials and rapid action force (RAF) personnel during the demolition drive. The police arrested MCG councillor Nisha Singh, who was present during the drive, for allegedly instigating the mob. She accused the RAF and Gurgaon police personnel of manhandling and wrongfully arresting her. The case was heard by the National Human Rights Commission.
A few months later, then administrator Anita Yadav cracked the whip on encroachments in Sector 29, the entertainment hub and home to popular fine dining restaurants. Large-scale encroachments by influential hoteliers, restaurant owners and other commercial establishments were cleared in a few hours time. The move came after a mob broke diesel generator sets, security rooms and toilets placed by restaurants on footpaths and green belts. Backed by orders from its headquarters, the authority conducted the drive fearlessly.
The ray of hope for Huda residents, and Gurgaon city has been the formation of the district level, and state level task force on infrastructure gaps constituted after the intervention of Haryana government. A number of meetings of the task force have been held under P Ragahvendra Rao, additional chief secretary, Town and Country Planning department which has lately galvanized the department, and given hope to residents that civic issues would be addressed, and infrastructure gaps filled.
One good thing came out of the fund crunch, delays and controversies — a district and state-level task force was formed to identify the gaps in infrastructure works. A number of meetings of the task force were conducted under P Ragahvendra Rao, additional chief secretary of the town and country planning department. This has given hope to Gurgaon residents that civic issues will be addressed and delayed projects completed soon.
A major policy decision that Haryana government made after consulting the task force was agreeing to the demand of NPR and SPR evictees. In a first, the government has decided to compensate them under the land pooling scheme.
“The formation of the task force has given an inter-agency platform and will help Huda and all other departments to work in a better way. I assure Gurgaon will become a better city,” Rao said.
In 2016, Huda plans to expedite work on the Badshahpur drain, underpasses on the Gurgaon expressway and improving the city’s drainage and road infrastructure. The new year brings along a major challenge for Huda -- transfer of its residential sectors to the Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon, which has long been a bone of contention between the two government agencies.
Gurgaon’s Huda administrator Hardeep Singh said all efforts will be made to complete the pending projects. .