Haryana earns a whopping 49 per cent of its revenue from the 160 square kilometres that make up Gurgaon. More than 200 top companies of the world, including more than a hundred Fortune 500 companies, have set up base here.
But the roads in one of the world's top outsourcing destinations are arguably the worst in the country and traffic jams are more common than call centres.
Former Joint Commissioner of Police (Traffic), Delhi, Maxwell Pereira joined HT as a traffic expert for a day and visited some of the major traffic bottlenecks in Millennium City and met commuters such as Veer Munshi.
A known artist and resident of National Media Centre near Shankar Chowk, Munshi was stuck at the expressway when he said, “For the last two years, traffic jams on the the expressway’s service lanes, especially at Shankar Chowk, have increased manifold. I get stuck for 45 minutes at the chowk that is just 500 metres from my home.”
Traffic records claim about 1.20 lakh vehicles converge at Shankar Chowk from DLF Cybercity, Udyog Vihar and Delhi every day, making it the busiest crossing in the city followed by Iffco Chowk with about 90,000 vehicles and Kapashera border with 45,000.
Kavita Pathak, a senior export house executive, takes 10 minutes to cover the eight kilometres between her Sector 46 home and Shankar Chowk. She spends 45 minutes at the crossing which is just a kilometre from her Udyog Vihar office.
“Yesterday, I saw two groups fighting with iron bars when their cars dashed against each other at Shankar Chowk. Windows were smashed and blood was spilled all over the road,” she said.
Pereira said while the service lanes were overcrowded, the main carriageway had relatively enough space to handle the traffic.
“Authorities failed to ascertain the traffic volume and just two-lane service lanes were built. The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) has also committed a blunder by allowing access to malls leading to additional load on service roads.”
At Kapashera border, lakhs of industrial workers come from Delhi and Gurgaon and walk to Udyog Vihar.
“The people walk on both sides of the road since there are no foot overbridges and underpasses. There are no traffic cops,” said Harshdeep Singh, an executive with TCS.
Maxwell Pereira said the encroachments and unauthorised constructions along the Old Delhi Road had added to the woes here. R.K. Singh, the chief project director of Gurgaon expressway and chief general manager NHAI, said though Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda had agreed in a meeting with Union minister Kamal Nath to transfer land to NHAI for widening the 2-lane service road along the expressway, but nothing had come of it so far.