Choked traffic, haphazard encroachments, poor sanitation, proliferation of residential colonies, and a lackadaisical administration, all these combine to make Kharar a nightmare for its denizens.
A transit point for people travelling to Punjab, Haryana, Jammu-Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh from Chandigarh and SAS Nagar, Kharar continues to wear a pall of dust all day long. But what rankles people the most is the daily commute.
“It is a nightmare during office hours and with no police around to streamline traffic, matters take a turn for worse. I have to start about 30 minutes early every day to reach office in time,” gripes Sudhir Sharma, a resident of Kharar who works in a private company. The traffic is worse on the weekends, especially at the North Country mall, where vehicles from the service lane drive on to the highway with no traffic lights to manage the flow.
The roadside vendors and vehicles eating into the road add to the general chaos, compounded by traffic violations that go unchecked every day.
There is no method to madness in the way at least 10 side lanes merge into the Kharar highway at different points on the stretch from Balongi to Kharar bus stand. Residents blame this flow of traffic from the slip roads for the growing congestion, and complain that the authorities have never attempted to deal with the problem of gridlocked traffic.
Ankita Rai of Dashmesh Nagar points to the absence of adequate traffic cops to man the traffic despite the growing bottlenecks. “The traffic rules are violated with impunity as there is no fear of law,” rues Ankita.
A STAND FOR PROTESTERS
The township doesn’t have a proper bus stand. Located at an important junction, the present bus stand on the NH -21 adds to the traffic congestion. Unfortunately, it’s also become a favorite spot for protests. Last week, teachers sat in dharna on the spot, jamming the traffic for nearly five hours.
“The buses are lined up on roadside, making it impossible to traverse that stretch. Sometimes it takes half an hour to cross the small stretch which is less than a kilometer,” complains Tarundeep Singh, a resident on Randhawa road.
NO CURBS ON ENCROACHMENTS
The municipal council has failed to tackle the issue of encroachments on the highway, a major cause of accidents. The roadside vendors set up shops along the highways and at many places in the service lanes regardless of the rules.
“There is no check on roadside encroachments and vendors peddle juice, fruit and other goods on the roads without any check,” rues Shivani Sharma, a resident of Sunny Enclave,
The MC’s reluctance to act against the encroachers has led to allegations of a well-oiled nexus between the MC authorities and the encroachers.
With a large number of young professionals working in Chandigarh and SAS Nagar moving into various housing societies in Kharar, there are parking chaos in residential areas as well. Despite this, the municipal council has failed to make any provision for parking in the markets. The customers as well as shopkeepers park their vehicles on the roads, much to the inconvenience of other commuters.
Harminder Singh, resident of Sunny enclave, says heated arguments among residents over parking are a regular feature of the township.
SORRY STATE OF SANITATION
The Swacch Bharat Abhiyan has failed to make any impact on the ground in Kharar. This is evident from the heaps of garbage dumped along roadsides, stinking public toilets, choked drains, and ineffective door-to-door garbage collection system.
“Many residents scrimp on the fees for the door-to-door collection of garbage. But more than money, it is the irregular collection of garbage that has stopped people from opting for this mode of collection, leading to open spaces becoming dumping yards,” Kartar Singh of Dashmesh Nagar.
COLONIES SANS BASIC AMENITIES
Proximity to Chandigarh and SAS Nagar coupled with less expensive real estate has made this township a favorite with colonisers, leading to a proliferation of private residential colonies. But often, in a race to make the most of space, these colonies lack green areas. The Municipal Council too has failed to develop parks.
The less said the better about the condition of roads. “The internal roads are full of potholes and no one seems to be bothered,” laments Sukhwinder Singh, a resident of Mundi Kharar.