It’s difficult to imagine a city without a sewerage network but you don’t have to go far to find one. Gurgaon – Millennium City – is a ripe example.
“About 60 per cent of the area in New Gurgaon is not connected to the master sewer lines, which are either not laid or not functional,” says RS Rathee, President of DLF Qutub Enclave residents’ welfare association. “Except DLF Phase I, the internal sewerage lines in phases II, III, IV and V of DLF City do not have proper outlets and sewage is dumped in open plots,” adds Rathee.
Although it is illegal to do so, housing societies hire tractors at great expense to get rid of their sewage. With each tractor hauling 5,000 litres, 100 tractor loads of sewage — altogether five lakh litres — gets spread out in the city everyday, adding to the stink.
Drive along Gurgaon Expressway and you’ll find large pools of sewage amidst state-of-the-art buildings housing multinational companies. In the Sector 32 Institutional Area, which is home to numerous corporate houses like Apollo Tyres and Punj Lloyd, overflowing sewage lines are a common sight. “Some of the corporate houses have relocated due to these problems,” says Mohinder Verma of Punj Lloyd.
In Sushant Lok, Greenwood City, sectors 45 and 46 as well as sectors 55/56 that have around 100 group housing societies, you can see large cesspools on vacant plots.
In Palam Vihar, where the master sewerage line was constructed against the slope, the sewage has to be pumped out by HUDA. “If the pumps break down, the sewage back-flows into houses,” says Sunil Yadav, Vice President of Palam Vihar Residents’ Association.
In August, residents of the up-scale Belvedere Park in DLF City also faced a similar problem. “Some of the drains were filled up by the developers and some others were encroached upon by villagers,” says Rathee, so, during a downpour on August 14, sewage flowed back and entered the building.
Despite all these problems, the sewerage projects in the city remain pending. The city of two million has only two sewage treatment plants (STP) of 98 million litres per day (MLD) capacity. But a dedicated STP for New Gurgaon, which was proposed in 2006, is still not complete.