Caught in traffic in Gurgaon? Be relieved because it signals normalcy in the city.
Gurgaon is notorious for its traffic congestion, courtesy the deficient road infrastructure coupled with the multiplicity of government agencies having jurisdiction over roads.
With 11 lakh vehicles registered till June 2016, the pothole-riddled, waterlogging- prone, narrow city roads fall below the minimum that is essential in a city home to 20 lakh people.
Even National Highways and expressways suffer from deficiencies such as poor riding quality, lack of by-pass roads and wayside amenities, and inadequate safety measures.
All this points to the necessity of a single entity that can coordinate the maintenance and development of roads. Now, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon (MCG), Haryana Urban Development Authority (Huda), public works department (PWD), expressway concessionaire and real estate developers are accountable for roads under their jurisdiction. However, the agencies prefer passing the buck instead of taking responsibility for any shortcomings.
Normally, a solution is initiated after a glaring structural failure only after protests and petitions.
Haryana minister for department of public works (buildings and roads) Rao Narbir Singh says he has had issues in understanding the role of different civic agencies in the city. “The multiple agencies are unfair to the public and a hindrance for carrying out developmental work,” he said.
HUDA, MCG, PWD and HSIIDC are responsible for the maintenance of roads but they are unable execute it, Singh said.
Some of the following examples will highlight problems that the public have to tackle while pushing for road maintenance.
The case of ‘orphan road’
Residents and employees of some corporate firms had to conduct a ceremony to name a road ‘Anaath’ (orphan) road to get the civic authorities’ attention to the condition of a 2.5- km pothole-riddled stretch of Sahraul Road in Sector 18.
The road had not been repaired since 2003 and corporate firms such as Siemens, Pearl Pet, Agilent Technologies, Tupper Ware, HCL, Lumax, Orient Craft and Munjal Showa have offices along this road.
Residents had visited the PWD, which directed them to the MCG, and consequently to the Huda, but the issue was not rectified.
The ceremony, though, caught the attention of then Haryana finance minister Birender Singh, who directed PWD officials to start repair work immediately and hand it over to the Huda.
Sushant Lok Phase 1, A block
There are about 350 houses in the locality and includes one of the five colonies, the maintenance of which will be transferred from the Huda to the MCG.
However, as the transfer has been in limbo since February, the developer (Ansal) and MCG have evaded responsibility of repairing a 500-metre long, 18-metre-wide road.
“After repeated visits to the developer’s office, we lost hope that they will repair this road. They denied having any fund to carry out the repair work. So we decided to repair the road ourselves,” Mohit Malik, a VAT consultant and resident of Sushant Lok 1, said.
Residents pooled in `5 lakh for the purpose and assigned the task to a private contractor.
Sirhaul toll plaza
It took Delhi high court’s intervention to remove a 32-lane toll plaza on the 27.7-km Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway. The toll plaza had become a point of traffic chaos on the expressway.
Authorities, including NHAI, project financier IDFC and toll operator Delhi-Gurgaon Super Connectivity Ltd, disputed over the toll removal until the HC intervened.