Plan to streamline traffic unleashes chaos near HUDA City Centre
On cloudy and humid Tuesday morning, a traffic police official ran behind the auto-rickshaws standing in front of the Huda City Centre Metro station Gate No.4, located opposite Max Hospital.
“Go away from here or else I will fine you,” he screamed at the top of his voice, hitting the auto-rickshaws with a stick.
Panic struck among the auto-rickshaw drivers who scattered in no time.
Since the construction work began for a flyover and underpass outside the Huda City Centre on July 20, traffic diversions at the site have been causing problems for commuters, as hiring an auto-rickshaw, crucial for last-mile connectivity, has become a challenge outside the Metro station.
The flow of traffic from the intersection near Gate No.3, located towards Signature Towers, and another intersection near Gate No.1, opposite Fortis Hospital, has been stopped for facilitating the construction of an underpass and flyover.
As a result, the auto-rickshaw stand outside Gate No.2 has been removed as well. Instead, auto-rickshaw drivers have been allotted a parking space on the other side of the road, towards Sector 56, and another spot some distance away from Gate No 3.
Rajat, a resident of Delhi who works at a private company in Sector 44 and uses the Metro every day, said, “I have to cross the road to catch an auto-rickshaw to reach my office. Earlier, the auto-rickshaws used to stand right in front of Gates 1 & 2. Since construction began, I have to risk crossing the road. It’s also a fairly long walk.”
While the foot overbridge (FOB) between Gates 2 & 4 is open for use. However, only a few commuters could be seen using it when Team HT visited the spot on Tuesday morning.
Despite being designated a stand, auto-rickshaw drivers gather near Gate No.4, against the directives of the traffic police.
Pramod, a native of Bihar, who has been driving auto-rickshaw in Gurugram for the past four years, said, “The police do not let us stand in front of the gates. Why would the commuters cross the road and book the auto-rickshaw? They get down at MG Road Metro station or Iffco Chowk Metro station and go from there. The construction work has severely impacted our business.”
Mukesh, who has been driving auto-rickshaw in the city for past 12 years, said, “We now leave our auto-rickshaws at parking spots and come near the exit gates. There is constant bickering among drivers over who is first in line to get a passenger. The competition has increased after the construction work began. If I was earning around ₹2,000 per day earlier, it has now come down to ₹1,200.”
However, Om Parkash, traffic inspector, East-II, said that the traffic police have given enough space to the auto-rickshaw drivers near the Metro station. He said, “There is enough space for the auto-rickshaw drivers to park near Max Hospital and Gate No.3. The commuters do not have an issue with crossing the road. The issue is that due to the expensive auto-rickshaw fare, they prefer taking bus now.”
Parkash added that the traffic police have made proper arrangement to tackle all issues arising from the road block, including installation of signboards for the new routes.
The diversions have also affected the pick-up points for cab aggregators. Earlier, people exiting the Metro station could catch a cab from Gates 1 & 2, which now stand blocked by barricades.
Raghav Bhardwaj, an employee with an accounting firm in Sector 44, said, “I used to usually book a private bike ride from Gate No.2, but now I have started taking it from Gate No.4. It takes a little longer to find my ride in the increased crowd. The route has also become longer as I have to take a U-turn by first going toward Iffco Chowk and then turning back. This adds a good 10 minutes to the commute.”
Many cab drivers in front of Gate No.3 complained that most passengers book the cab from Gates 1 & 2 and they have to wait for a long time for their arrival, located towards the direction of Signature Tower.