The residents of Sector 17 are facing a Catch 22 situation — put up with the daily traffic jams or risk losing the green cover to road expansion.
The work on the Sector 17/18 dividing road is halted as the Haryana Urban Development Authority’s (Huda) request to cut 250 trees is pending before the forest department.
This road connects the busy Iffco Chowk with Old Delhi-Gurgaon Road. A number of commuters also use this road to reach Udyog Vihar in Sector 18.
While the uncertainty over the trees continue, the project has hit another roadblock — a public sector petrochemical company has written to the Huda questioning the digging work, as a large petroleum pipeline passes under the road. In a letter to Huda officials, the petroleum company has raised objections to the widening work without its permission.
The work on this road started with much hype by a Gurgaon legislator, who had promised that work would be completed on top priority. However, despite the Huda’s promise to plant 2,500 saplings, the forest officials have not shown any leniency towards the department’s request. This has forced the Huda to re-apply for the permission. The urban authority hopes that given the importance of this road, and having found a mention in the chief minister’s announcement, it is possible that the permission might come soon.
Huda sub-divisional engineer Vijender Malik said that the authority has again requested for permission to cut the trees as the road cannot be widened without this measure. “We will do the compensatory plantation and a plan has been sought from the horticulture wing of the Huda. There is no other option to widen the road,” Malik said.
Residents, however, say that apart from the traffic congestion, they are also concerned about the loss of green cover in the sector. They plan to take up this matter with the government authorities. Residents feel planting new trees will not serve the purpose because the trees being cut are fully grown.
Poonam Choudhary of Sector 17 said, “This decision will reduce our green belt. If implemented, it will remove all trees that keep our sector green. We had little greenery in our area and now that is also in the process of being removed. It will leave us vulnerable to air pollution.”
The residents are even ready to spend from their pockets and go to the court to get a stay on the road widening project.
Another resident Anil Kumar said, “This is absurd. All the beauty and freshness that the trees bring will be taken away. We are helpless and the authorities are not even thinking about our concern. They will cut all such big trees and our colony will be devoid of greenery.”
The 2.2-km road will be expanded and rebuild for Rs. 5.9 crore in the next three months.