Divided between their homes and workplaces, schools, green fields, cremation grounds and relatives for over an year ever since the Gurgaon Expressway was thrown open, the residents of the villages and Haryan urban development authority (HUDA) sectors situated along the 8-km long Rajiv Chowk-Kherki Daula (42nd milestone toll plaza) stretch have also sacrificed dozens of lives. Students on their way to schools were crushed by speeding vehicles, cyclists were mowed down en route their workplaces and women run over on their way to meet family members while crossing this deadly stretch for the want of safe crossover facilties, such as foot-over-bridges (FOBs) and underpasses. They have decided to take revenge by not participating in this Lok Sabha elections.
“Enough is enough. Neither the administration nor politicians have done any good to solve over problems. Our relatives continue to die on this stretch. We just have one subway at the end of the stretch. Now NHAI is erecting iron grills to make us walk more than nine kilometers to reach the other side of the expressway but FOBs and underpasses are nowhere in sight,” said Udayvir Singh.
In a panchayat held in village Khandsa today by the residents of 15 villages and HUDA sectors 10, 10A, 37, 34 and 35, it was also announced that the residents would disrupt the ongoing work of installing the iron grill on the median of the expressway from tomorrow as, they said, this would completely block the crossover movement of the local residents on both the side of the road.
It was on January 19 2008, barely three days before the official opening of the Gurgaon Expressway, that a six year old girl was crushed to death and her nine-year old brother seriously injured when walking the stretch near Hero Honda crossing to get to their school on the other side.
Balbir Singh Bokan, resident of village Behrampur Khatola said 40,000 voters lived along the stretch and about 1.8 lakh locals from 100 villages would join them in the polls boycott. “We have given the administration a deadline of May 2, by when we need two red lights on this stretch. We should also be clearly explained when and where the underpasses would come up. If our demand isn’t met by May 2, we would meet on May 3 and announce the boycott of Lok Sabha Elections, slated to be held on May 7,” he said.
A senior NHAI official said that a private-sector consultancy company was conducting survey of the 8-km long stretch between Rajiv Chowk and 42nd Milestone toll plaza for suggesting the sites of underpasses. “We would have three underpasses and FOBs each on this stretch. The work is already underway. However, installation of red light crossings on the expressway is not possible as this is build, operate and transfer project and we are bound by the terms already reached,” he added.