The Union government has sanctioned Rs 280 crore for setting up an urban transport system — primarily a bus service — a sewerage treatment plant and to increase green cover in Gurgaon.
The funds will be released over five years under the Centre’s recently launched Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) scheme.
This means Gurgaon will get around Rs 56 crore a year. The Haryana and the central government will contribute for the projects as per norms fixed under the scheme.
The Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon (MCG) had submitted a service-level improvement plan (SLIP) to the government seeking a bus service, sewerage treatment plant and more parks. After assessing SLIPs from other cities, the Haryana government approved the plan on November 9.
The sanction of funds is likely to give a boost to the MCG’s proposal of setting up a bus service in Gurgaon for which a special purpose vehicle (SPV) has been approved.
It will also help the corporation in setting up a much-needed sewerage treatment plant and increase the city’s tree cover for which Rs 15 crore has been sanctioned.
“This is a long-term urban renewal plan and will take a while before the projects take off. For the bus service in Gurgaon, we need to set up an SPV which will decide how many buses are needed and how to run the service. This is a long-drawn process, but it will give permanent solutions to the urban problems of cities in Haryana,” Dr Mahavir Singh, principal secretary of the Haryana urban local bodies, said.
In the absence of an efficient public transport network, residents have been dependant on autorickshaws and private vehicles. The fact that the city bus service project will take long to hit Gurgaon’s roads has not gone down well with them.
Harinder Dhingra, an RTI activist and resident of Gurgaon, said the city needs more than Rs 50 crore a year to set up a bus service. “The city needs a large number of buses, bus stands, bus shelters and other supporting infrastructure. The Haryana government earns almost half its revenue from Gurgaon, but when it comes to spending, it looks the other way,” he said.
Amit Bhatt, transport expert, said, “We need around 1,000 buses for Gurgaon. We also need land to park the buses.”
The residents also want a Gurgaon development authority (GDA), which was promised by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) during the Haryana elections in October last year. The GDA will be a unified authority that will look into the urban development of the city, eliminating the problem of multiplicity of authorities.