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After rain, potholes become a nuisance for Gurugram commuters

During a spot visit, HT found Vatika Chowk, the stretch between Bhagwan Mahaveer Marg, and Genpact Chowk riddled with potholes.

gurgaon Updated: Aug 01, 2018 14:44 IST
Prayag Arora-Desai and Kartik Kumar
Prayag Arora-Desai and Kartik Kumar
Hindustan Times,Gurugram
A pothole at Genpact Chowk, one of the many key junctions of Gurugram, that not only slows down traffic but also pose risks to commuters. (Yogendra Kumar/HT PHOTO)

The last few days have provided Gurugram some respite from the monsoon. However, after the downpour last week resulted in waterlogging and traffic jams, residents are now having to deal with the issue of potholes on city streets.

Citizens across Gurugram have reported that potholes have appeared in their localities this monsoon, especially in areas such as Sushant Lok, Sector 45, Genpact Chowk, Vatika Chowk, Mahashay Hans Ram Marg and also in areas near Tikri and Islampur Villages, among several others.

Sanjay Bawa, a resident of Sushant Lok in Sector 43, said that he has had to fix the suspension of his four-year-old car several times due to potholes. “Many people in my area, whose cars are a few years old, are also facing suspension problems because of bad roads,” he said, adding that the roads particularly dangerous at night because of the lack of streetlights in the neighbourhood. “Nobody can see where they are going. I have to drive extremely slowly and carefully so that I don’t end up in a ditch,” Bawa said.

For those without private vehicles, the situation comes with its own set of hardships, as it is harder to find public transport in heavily potholed areas, with drivers simply refusing to ply there or charging exorbitant amounts to do so.

“I don’t go to areas such as Sushant Lok or Kanhai Village,” said Jitender Singh, an auto rickshaw driver who operates outside Huda City Centre Metro station. Auto rickshaws simply aren’t built to withstand rough terrain, and for most drivers, the fare they receive isn’t worth the beating that their vehicles have to take. Singh, who is well past 50, also complained of severe body aches, especially in his back, from driving on too many bad roads in Gurugram.

An open manhole seen near Kanhai village road, Sector 45, Gurugram, on Tuesday, July 31, 2018. (Yogendra Kumar/HT PHOTO)

Sarika Panda Bhatt, programme coordinator, Haryana Vision Zero, said, “Potholes are formed due to a combination of two factors - substandard roads and stagnant water - which together reduce the binding force of the bituminous material with which the road is made.” The problem worsens when vehicles pass over such stretches, causing more wear and tear. It exacerbates the problem and increases the risk of accidents.

“Last year, 300 people across Haryana died in pothole-related mishaps,” Bhatt added. Moreover, in 2017, potholes were the cause of 9,423 road accidents across the country. These resulted in 3,597 fatalities and left 8,792 people injured, as per figures revealed before the Parliament last week by Mansukh Mandaviya, Union minister of state for Road Transport & Highways.

This year, too, pothole-related accidents have been reported from across the country, making the issue a national concern, and also a hindrance to the daily routines of hundreds of thousands of people in Gurugram itself.

On Tuesday, a Hindustan Times team visited three busy streets in Gurugram where the issue of potholes was reported to be the severest in the city. These are Vatika Chowk, the stretch of road between Bhagwan Mahaveer Marg, and Genpact Chowk. At all locations, the streets were dotted with potholes, slowing down traffic and exposing commuters to potential risks.

While the main road outside Kanhai village, on Bhagwan Mahaveer Marg, has not been severely affected, the bylanes are ridden with wide ditches, indicating the use of poor construction material. “The other day, an auto got stuck here after the driver hit a ditch and the vehicle’s front wheel was bent out of shape,” Jayram Palit, who runs a kiosk opposite Ramada hotel, said. This stretch is an alternate route for commuters passing between Sector 30/31 and DLF 5, looking to bypass the congestion at HUDA City Centre.

At Vatika Chowk and Genpact Chowk, which are both busy intersections located on Sohna Road and Golf Course Road respectively, potholes were spotted bang in the middle of the intersections and on the shoulders of roads. “Now, if a car breaks down right there, in the middle of the intersection, we are in for a real problem,” said Dinesh Kumar, assistant sub-inspector (traffic), Gurugram police, pointing to a gaping ditch in the middle of Vatika Chowk.

“We are supposed to report these potholes to officials, which we do, but usually, we are simply told to level the road using dirt, sand or malba (construction debris),” Kumar said.

These are only temporary solutions, which have other adverse consequences. “Using these materials means that passing vehicles will throw up a lot of sand and dirt into the air, making it harder for traffic policemen to breathe,” Kumar added. He also suggested that the provision of goggles and masks to traffic policemen would be a welcome move.

ND Vashisht, the chief engineer of MCG, informed officials and councillors during the House meeting last week that 90% of potholes in the city, identified by MCG officials, have been fixed and work on the remaining ones are ongoing.

Despite repeated calls and texts, V Umashankar, CEO of GMDA, could not be reached for a comment in the matter.

First Published: Aug 01, 2018 14:43 IST