This seems to be a classic example of how public money goes down the drain, literally. Machinery worth Rs 3.5 crore that was installed last October to solve the persistent problem of waterlogging at Hero Honda Chowk on the Gurgaon Expressway proved to be futile after a bout of rainfall on Monday.
Commuters had a hard time navigating the intersection which was completely submerged and led to heavy traffic snarls due to slow vehicular movement.
The budget to install a pumping set at the busy crossing was sanctioned by Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda as a special case. The system was inaugurated amid much fanfare by chief election commissioner SY Quraishi.
Irked over the chaos, the Gurgaon traffic police, with not much choice at its disposal, have asked the Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon (MCG) and the expressway concessionaire company (DSC Limited) to clear the accumulated water from the crossing.
The company, however, has blamed the mess on large-scale encroachment along the expressway and a non-functional drainage system.
“Last year, the then municipal commissioner Rajesh Khullar had promised to free Hero Honda Chowk from the perennial problem of waterlogging. But nothing has changed and commuters are still facing trouble. Traffic comes to a standstill due to water accumulation during monsoon. To address this issue, we have written a letter to the civic body asking them to take action,” said a senior traffic police official.
“Monsoon is yet to come in full swing and a mild downpour exposed the inability of the civic agencies concerned to clear water from the area. The departments have failed to deliver on their promises,” the official added.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson of DSC Limited said that as a concessionaire, the firm has limited jurisdiction to solve the problem of waterlogging.
“A drain has been constructed on both sides of the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway, according to specifications of the National Highway Authority of India and the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways. The culverts have also been designed in the same way. The surface rainwater system is also working smoothly," he said.
“The outlet near Hero Honda Chowk and surrounding areas gets choked due to local encroachment, resulting in blockage of natural creeks. Taking action on this issue is the responsibility of the civic bodies. However, in order to help to clear the water, we have installed seven high pressure pumps with a capacity of 10 HP each. Each of these pumps drains out around 36 litres of water per second. Additionally, manholes have been raised and five tankers have been deployed to lift water, wherever needed,” said the spokesperson.