Take the issue of dilapidated and intractable service roads, and add to it the annual Kanwar Yatra. That spells doom for regular commuters of Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway as also the traffic cops who find it hard to restrain the pilgrims to the narrow lanes.
For almost 8km — from Rajiv Colony to Kherki Daula toll plaza — the service roads are intractable due to overflowing sewers and the kanwariyas are forced to walk on the main carriageway, which is also broken at places, pushing vehicles to move in a single file.
Broken, narrow or even absent service roads are, in the opinion of the police and the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), the leading reasons for the death of pedestrians, cyclists and two-wheeler drivers, who are forced to stray to the main carriageway amid fast-moving vehicles.
“The service lanes have not been repaired as the matter is sub-judice. Moreover, the Haryana Urban Development Authority (Huda) and Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon (MCG) are as liable because stagnant sewage and rainwater have broken the roads,” said a spokesperson of DGSCL, the concessionaire of the expressway.
The highway administrator of Gurgaon was so fed up of the problem that ultimately it had to censure the company at an open hearing in the court of highway administration.
Meanwhile, the NHAI is now ready to carry out the repairs circumventing the concessionaire firm. “We had to undertake the repair of almost 9km of service roads, from kilometer-33 to kilometer-42, in public interest as the concessionaire did not do it though it was its responsibility. We cannot let people die for want of service roads,” said a source in the NHAI.
On the Delhi side of the expressway, the story is a little different. “The government was under a lot of pressure when the expressway project got delayed from 2005 to 2008. The media was chasing us and the concessionaire was putting pressure on us; so somehow we had to begin operations on the main carriageway,” said RP Indoria, former chief general manager of NHAI.
As a result, the NHAI had to wage a long battle against the Airports Authority of India (AAI) and the Army to acquire land for laying the service road from Rajokri flyover to Palam, and the work started as late as just a couple of months ago and is still going on.