Commuters hoping for an early solution to waterlogging on Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway are in for disappointment. The problem is not going to be resolved anytime soon, particularly between Hero Honda Chowk and Kherki Daula toll plaza.
Both the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and civic agencies in Gurgaon have failed to find any easy and early solution to the problems haunting the city for long.
Every year during monsoon, the service roads between Hero Honda Chowk and Kherki Daula turn into streams. All short-term measures like heavy duty water pumps and diversions have failed to ease commuters’ woes.
Although efforts are being made by NHAI, and Municipal Corporation Gurgaon (MCG) to retrofit this crucial intersection with a flyover, and construction of a longitudinal drain but these are long-term plans that can take anywhere between three and four years to deliver results. After much delay over who will foot the bill, the project to construct the longitudinal drain has finally been awarded to NKC Private Ltd. The company is supposed to complete the work in five months.
However, reply to a Right to Information query revealed that in the last nine months only 6% work has been completed on Hero Honda Chowk flyover.
Mahesh Sharma, who takes the service road from Hero Honda Chowk to his office in Sector 34, says driving is very risky. “We have no option but to cross the road which is filled with water, and sewage,” says Sharma. The problem also gets compounded because traffic moves on both sides causing jams. Acidic nature of the sewage which mixes with water severely damages the road as several people have diverted sewage lines to the highway drain.
Prof Sewa Ram from School of Planning and Architecture, Delhi, says that Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) and MCG have not been able to develop an extensive storm water drainage plan for the city which causes waterlogging at Hero Honda Chowk. “The Badshahpur drain brings almost 2,000 cusecs of water from New Gurgaon to Hero Honda Chowk but the Khandsa drain which carries water further to Najafgarh drain has capacity of only 700 cusecs,” he says. It is this excess water which blocks the service lanes.
Civic agencies in Gurgaon never planned a longitudinal drain along this highway which is the root cause of trouble. December 2013 work started Of late HUDA has taken up the task of expanding the Badhshapur drain by about 15 meters, and proposal of land acquisition has been made to the government.
“We are working on a plan to increase the capacity of this drain by widening it in stretches so that water can ceaselessly move to Najafgarh drain. However, acquisition of land is a time taking process,” admits Hari Dutt Sharma, executive engineer, HUDA.
To fast-track this project, NHAI officials have offered to help in the expansion work but they also say that acquisition of land could delay the project. “NHAI has agreed to do this work as it has the expertise, and this is the only solution to resolve the waterlogging problem on the highway,” says Sharma of NHAI. He says the Haryana government should take this issue seriously so that land can be acquired on priority.
The massive investment for land, however, could be a tall order because the civic agencies in Gurgaon, and the state government are facing fund crunch.