It may be one of the most developing cities of the country, but Gurgaon seems to be lagging behind when it comes to safety in residential areas.
Most of the residential colonies in the city have failed a safety test carried out by social enterprise Safetipin recently.
The colonies have been rated on nine parameters-- lighting, openness, visibility, crowd, security, footpaths, transport, gender usage and feeling of safety.
Colonies with average scores below 1 out of 5 (till January 14) have been rated ‘poor’, those with scores between 1 and 3.4 have been rated ‘average’ and the ones with scores of above 3.4 have been rated ‘good’. In the analysis, majority of the colonies were rated either ‘poor’ or ‘average’. More than half of the colonies have scored between 0-3.4. Only eight sectors, including Civil Lines, Sector 28 and Sector 6, have scored more than 3.4, which gives them a rating of ‘good’.
Interestingly, none of the three major private residential colonies -- South City, DLF (Phase 1, 2 and 3) and Sushant Lok-- has scored above 2.7 out of 5, which is just ‘average’.
According to the survey, the major safety issues plaguing these areas are ‘security’ and ‘gender usage’.
According to Safetipin co-founder Kalpana Vishwanath, lack of safety arrangements is a major concern for most residential areas.
“Lack of security arrangements is a major issue in almost all residential colonies of Gurgaon. When we talk about security, we take into account the presence of police as well as private guards and other surveillance infrastructure such as CCTV cameras. In most of the big localities, including those developed privately, there are no CCTV cameras. Some localities have cameras but they are defunct.”
The combined safety score of DLF 1, 2 and 3 is 2.5, which is ‘average’. Safetipin pointed out that the three phases of DLF lag behind on the parameters of ‘gender usage’, ‘security’ and ‘crowd’. The phases scored below 1 on all these three parameters.
Residents of the DLF seem to be agreeing with the survey results.
“A lot of times, residents of nearby villages enter DLF and sit in the parks here. This creates an unsafe environment for us,” said Rupanshi Mahajan, a resident of DLF Phase 3.
The residential blocks also score low on the ‘public transport’ and ‘lighting’ parameters.
“Villages like Nathupur and Sikanderpur are connected with our areas and are often misunderstood as a part of DLF phases. People from these villages crowd the area with unauthorised construction and other activities. Otherwise, the entire plotted area and condominiums are well equipped with safety measures. We have a three-tier security system of CCTV vigilance, quick response team and private security arrangement,” said Rohit Malik, director, DLF Estates Developers Ltd.
South City, which has scored 2.6, has been rated low on parameters of ‘security’, ‘gender usage’ and ‘crowd’. The area also lags on public transport and lighting factors.
“There are a lot of dark stretches in the locality due to defunct streetlights. Another issue is the poor state of public transport,” said Jagriti Bedi, a resident of South City 1.
The maintenance team of South City 1 said that people from the adjoining villages often enter the townships.
“Safety of the residents is paramount to us. We strive to provide the best possible solutions to the residents. A unique challenge faced by us is that there are some villages adjoining the township. Residents of these villages use the township as a thoroughfare for accessing the main roads. We will make improvements, wherever necessary, in consultation with the residents,” said the maintenance team of South City-1.
The RWA of South City 2, which recently took over the maintenance work of the block, said it is looking into the various issues plaguing the area.
Sushant Lok, another major residential locality in Gurgaon, has also scored an average 2.7 in the survey.
The colony has several dark stretches, making it unsafe at night. “There are a lot of spots in the locality which either do not have streetlights or the lights have been defunct for a very long time,” said Sania Arora, a resident of Sushant Lok 1.
The RWA of the colony claimed that the situation has improved in the recent time. “There has been a visible change in the security arrangements at Sushant Lok in the past a few months. There are still many issues, but we are working towards solving them soon,” said AK Nagpal, RWA president, Sushant Lok 1.
Spokesperson of PRO FAC, the management agency for Sushant Lok said, “We have a joint account with the Sushant Lok RWA and together we are trying to solve issues of the area.”
The survey has found that sectors like 15 and 17 face the problems of overcrowding, lack of security and last-mile connectivity. The sectors lack basic infrastructure like streetlights and footpaths.