Construction of road via Aravalli Biodiversity Park retained in draft mobility planUpdated: Oct 17, 2020, 23:27 IST
Despite facing backlash from citizens on the proposed construction of a road via Aravalli Biodiversity Park, Gurugram Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA) on Saturday confirmed that the plan for the road has been retained in the final draft of the Comprehensive Mobility Plan (CMP).
The draft of the CMP, developed for improving road junctions, construction of roads, bridges, pedestrian footpaths, cycling tracks, among others, is awaiting approval from by the GMDA’s Resident Advisory Council (RAC) and later by chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar, said officials.
The CMP has been compiled by the School of Planning and Architecture (SPA), New Delhi, to improve public transport and pedestrian infrastructure in Gurugram. A six-month-long extensive study of traffic infrastructure, road network, parking facilities among others was conducted to prepare the CMP. It identified the current problems related to mobility and recommended solutions based on the projected population and expansion plans for the city till 2041.
In 2019, the draft CMP was put up in the public domain for feedback to which residents raised objections on the proposal to construct a road between Ambience Mall and MG Road via Aravalli Biodiversity Park.
VS Kundu, CEO, GMDA said, “The final draft of the CMP has been prepared that still has the proposed road passing through biodiversity park. The road has a key role as per the mobility projections done in the draft. Whether it will be implemented or not will depend on the approval by RAC and CM. The alignment of the road can be decided as the situation arises.”
According to him, the road is important as it is a part of the radial plan with two concentric ring roads, as proposed in the CMP. “The road passing through the Aravallis is a part of the second ring. According to engineers, there will be a missing link in the radial plan if the road is removed from the overall layout,” said Kundu.
In 2018, a similar proposal was submitted by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) for two roads passing through the biodiversity park connecting MG Road to Delhi-Gurugram Expressway and Vasant Kunj.
Sairam Dasari, assistant professor, SPA, who has worked on the CMP project said that road stretch is a part of an outer ring road plan that will act as bypass. “Survey on traffic patterns in Gurugram shows that there are 11 points to enter Gurugram where road linkages are required. Nearly 22% of the traffic entering Gurugram is external as they are using NH48 to cross the city. We are trying to divert the external traffic from the internal traffic by designing an outer ring road similar to Delhi. A part of this ring road passes from Ambience Mall to MG Road and further connects with Gurugram-Faridabad Road.”
According to him, options for the alignment of the road that passes through the park has been given in the detailed project report. Sewa Ram, professor of transport planning, SPA said, “It is a misconception that the road stretch will destroy the park. There is no consensus on the alignment of the road, whether it will be elevated or take minimum area of the park or completely avoid it. The decision has to be taken based on the detailed project report. This outer ring road is required as NH 48 has saturated to its capacity. Since Gurugram lacks its urban network plan, it is important to develop one where internal and external traffic is bifurcated.”
“Gurugram cannot afford to lose the biodiversity park. Any road passing through the park will spoil the park completely. Gurugram is a smart city and local biodiversity is an important indicator to retain its status as a smart city. The park is a biodiversity hotspot and it would be a shame if it is destroyed,” said Vijay Dhasmana, curator of Aravalli Biodiversity Park.
“Gurugram cannot afford to lose the biodiversity park. Any road passing through the park will spoil the park completely. Gurugram is a smart city with a biodiversity park in it. Therefore it should be retained without doing any damage,” said Vijay Dhasmana, curator of Aravalli Biodiversity Park.
Experts say the road passing through the park comes with a high environmental cost. Chetan Agarwal, a city-based environment analyst said, “Three factors have to be considered: First what is the utility of the road for Gurugram, how it benefits the real estate market and what is the environmental cost of the project. It has to be looked upon carefully as to why the road is needed. If traffic and easy connectivity are issues, then the authorities should factor in Regional Rapid Transit System (RRTS) corridor which is designed to ease the traffic burden from Delhi to Manesar.”
Sarika Panda, who works extensively on the mobility related issues of the city, said, “Gurugram does not need more roads as it will not solve the traffic problems. The focus should be on shifting from private vehicular infrastructure to public.”
GMDA planned to take the project back to drawing board earlier this year due to Covid-19 pandemic which highlighted at the use of personal vehicles rather than public transport due to safety issues.