The widening of a 3.5-km stretch in South Delhi’s Vasant Kunj is a classic example of how not to execute an infrastructure project, especially if it falls in a densely populated area.
Poor planning and bad execution are the hallmarks of the road widening project, which ironically aims at reducing traffic woes in the area.
The key to the speedy and efficient completion of the project lies in addressing grievances of residents’, mainly of poor site management.
The road that connects Andheria Mod (Chhatarpur Metro station) with Mahipalpur was proposed in the early 1960s, more than two decades before the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) started construction on the hills of Aravali, building what was to become one of the most affluent residential colonies in the Capital. Solutions
The government today swears by its master plan that says the road was always supposed to be 75 metres wide, but could not make it so for years. Now it wants to clear everything coming in its way.
Residents say development projects need to be based on present and future realities and not on past plans.
Most feel the width should be reduced. Some even feel the road should bypass the colony altogether.
Mukul Chaturvedi, a resident of D-2, said, “Ours is not an unauthorised colony that the government can use for widening a road. We have been staying here for three decades. To quote a master plan like an oracle is not fair.”
“The road, if widened as planned, will almost touch the front flats and there will be no space for parking in D1 and D2,” Chaturvedi said.
Others want the project to end quickly. But they also want the government to have a balanced approach.
“There must be proper lighting, crossings for the elderly, easy boarding and de-boarding points for school buses,” said a resident.
The level of the road is higher than the houses. Residents fear if it is extended up to the flats, the ground-floor apartments will be flooded with water flowing from the highway.
The residents feel the public works department (PWD) could have waited for approval of plans from the forest department and planning body UTTIPEC before “hacking trees and demolishing colony walls, sewer lines”.But there’s some hope.
“We met Lt. Governor Tejendra Khanna and he said he had in the past agreed to change road alignments to save existing colonies. He recommended to the PWD to have a more interactive and resident-friendly approach and ensure UTTIPEC guidelines are followed. He told officials to ensure proper lighting and security on the stretch,” said Chaturvedi.
They said they were not against development but just wanted such projects to be implemented in a planned manner.
“We want at least the most-affected residents to be consulted. Take them into confidence and then come out with a feasible plan,” said a resident.