Driving on the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway is somewhat like playing the immensely popular video game, Grand Theft Auto. It poses a multitude of challenges to the commuters and - unlike the game’s protagonist - they do not have even the basic facilities and amenities to soldier on.
Suppose a car breaks down and stalls on the main carriageway at Iffco Chowk flyover and the driver’s mobile phone is low on charge.
What will the person in distress do?
Maybe, inspired by Grand Theft Auto, he/she will look to place an SOS call. But, unfortunately, none of the SOS phones planted on the roadside works and neither are there police pickets nor dedicated motor workshops nearby.
Making matters worse, any vehicle can hit the car from behind, as often happens with stationary vehicles on the expressway.
“My car’s tyre got punctured a year ago on Shankar Chowk flyover and it took 45 minutes for the concessionaire-appointed recovery squad to reach the spot after I called them. There should be motor workshops close to all the six flyovers,” said RK Chaudhary, a civil engineer by profession, lamenting that the expressway does not provide adequate facilities to the commuters.
The plight of pedestrians, cyclists and tens of thousands of passengers relying on public transport is even more deplorable as the expressway lacks basic facilities such as Q-shelters, public toilets, benches, etc.
“These are called wayside amenities; the expressway, which charges toll at two places, lacks these,” said local resident Attar Singh Sandhu.
At all the intersections — Shankar Chowk, Iffco Chowk, Signature Tower, 32nd Milestone, Jharsa Chowk and Rajiv Chowk — there is no public convenience. When asked about a response, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and the expressway concessionaire, Delhi-Gurgaon Super Connectivity Limited (DGSCL) - as is the norm - blamed each other.
“The wayside amenities like bus/truck lay-bys, bus shelters, public conveniences, etc have not been constructed as land has not been made available to us,” said a DGSCL spokesperson.