Manesar, an industrial township, which boasts of industries, commercial spaces and many new residential societies, was supposed to benefit from Gurgaon’s growth. Also, the presence of National Highway-8 near it had raised hopes of industrialists when the township was planned by the Haryana government.
But in the past five years, a large number of manufacturing units in the township have either closed or shifted to other states. Industrialists say this happened because of some government decisions and frequent jams at the Kherki Daula toll plaza, which made business non-viable in Manesar.
Several industrial units have shifted from Manesar to states such as Rajasthan and Uttarakhand.
Colonel (Retired) AK Chawla, who has a manufacturing unit in Manesar since 2004, said there are multiple problems at the Industrial Model Township in Manesar. And the Kherki Daula toll plaza adds to the chaos, he said.
“When I wanted to expand my business and set up a second unit, I preferred Rajasthan. Many others like me have shifted elsewhere because no one wants to waste time being stuck in jams at the toll plaza twice a day,” Chawla said.
He said the Haryana government’s decision to ask plot owners to pay more for compensating farmers whose land has been acquired has also put extra burden on industrialists.
Experts say the chaos at the toll plaza is the reason that Manesar, which was expected to attract IT companies in NCR towns, failed to do so.
“The toll adds to the cost of a company and IT firms found Manesar costlier because they will have to reimburse their employees for the toll,” said Nimish Arora, CEO, Cyberwalk IT Park.
The high transport cost and lack of good infrastructure in Manesar are also the reasons for companies to shun Manesar.
Around 30 lakh sq foot of commercial and office space has been built in Manesar, but only 5 lakh sq foot is occupied. Arora said investments worth Rs 1,500 to Rs 2,000 crore are yielding no returns, said Arora.
Also, there are very few accommodations for industrial workers in Manesar. This forces most of the workers to either live in villages like Kasan and Manesar or live in Gurgaon and travel to Manesar every day.
The Kherki Daula toll plaza has also hit the real estate projects along the Gurgaon Expressway, particularly those in sectors 71 to 80 and 81 to 95 in Gurgaon.
Around 100 projects of private developers are not getting a good response from buyers because the area is not well connected. The toll plaza is another reason why people do not want to shift there.
“We take prospective buyers to apartments and other sites beyond Kherki Daula. They get impressed by the infrastructure but change their mind because of the toll plaza,” said Sanjay Sharma, a real estate consultant.
People are not buying houses there because of the steep toll and heavy congestions at the plaza.
Investors are also apprehensive about any appreciation in the rates of property in this area because of delay in projects such as the Southern Peripheral Road.
Lack of interest among buyers has led to a situation where there are not many takers for houses in New Gurgaon, particularly along the expressway beyond Kherki Daula.
“Selling property in areas near the toll plaza and Manesar has become very difficult. People ask about connectivity and emergency services and change their mind,” said Kanwaljeet Singh, senior vice-president, Bestech.
Office bearers of the Manesar Industries Welfare Association (MIWA) said they have met chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar and other government officials for a resolution of the issues related to the toll plaza, but no action has been taken so far.
“Industrialists, workers and office goers need an easy access to workplace. We cannot wait at the toll plaza for hours. It is a serious issue and we want the government to intervene and solve it,” said Manomohan Gaind of MIWA.
Like Manesar, the industrial township of Bawal was also touted as a logistics hub by the state government. But it has also failed to take off.
In the recent Happening Haryana Summit, industrialist Pawal Munjal had highlighted that jams on the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway and NH8 how it is affecting industrial development and investment in the region.
Haryana public works department minister Rao Narbir Singh admitted that both Manesar and Bawal industrial areas suffer because of jams at Kherki Daula.
“We are committed to resolving this problem but will need some more time,” he said.