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Rickety Sushant Lok roads in Gurugram need surgery

he most noticeable thing about Sushant Lok-1 is the poor state of its roads. As soon as one enters the gates of this 600-acre colony in Gurugram’s Sector 43, the ride gets bumpy

gurgaon Updated: Sep 27, 2018 03:22 IST
Prayag Arora-Desai
Prayag Arora-Desai
Hindustan Times, Gurugram
Gurugram,Sushant Lok-1,road
Broken roads mar the stretches of Sushant Lok, especially in Block-C, as they make commute hard and also are a site for mosquito breeding after rains. (HT Photo)

The most noticeable thing about Sushant Lok-1 is the poor state of its roads. As soon as one enters the gates of this 600-acre colony in Gurugram’s Sector 43, the ride gets bumpy. Innumerable potholes dot almost every street, slowing down traffic, kicking up clouds of dust and, during monsoon, accumulating pools of stagnating water.

“Why do you think there are so many mechanics in the area? Someone or the other is always getting their car fixed. Either the bumper gets scratched, shock absorbers start leaking oil or else, tyres start wearing out. It’s like driving off roads,” says resident Sanjay Bawa.

Bawa moved into C Block as a tenant four months ago from Delhi’s Vasant Kunj, to be closer to his office.

“Within a month, I had to get the suspension on my four-year-old WagonR changed,” he adds.

Bawa is now considering moving out of the area by the year-end. The quality of life in Sushant Lok 1, he says, isn’t what his family expected. They aren’t used to excessive power cuts, erratic water supply and the incessant din of construction work being carried out at every corner. There are also no streetlights at night, he points out, making him fear for his children’s safety.

“The only reason we moved here is because I got duped by my broker,” he says.

There are hundreds of others like Bawa, who say they feel duped for exactly the same reason.

However, unlike Bawa, they own property in the area and do not have brokers to be angry at. Instead, they are laying the blame squarely at the developer, Ansal Properties and Infrastructure, who began developing the area in the late 1980s.

Arun Kumar, who bought a plot here in 1991, says, “I was told this would be a gated enclave, with lush parks and the best public utilities. ‘The greenest area in Gurugram’ is what the developer had promised us. Where are the parks now? They have vanished.”

Residents are now choosing to place their faith in the Municipal Corporation of Gurugram, which, by the end of the month, will have taken over administrative responsibilities of all five blocks of Sushant Lok.

“We’re unsure whether the MCG will be able to make living any better, but it is our only hope,” said Yatinder Parti, a resident.

The decision to transfer private colonies to the MCG was taken by the state government in 2016, after multiple residents in privately developed colonies across Gurugram raised complaints of infrastructure deficiencies.

The move to bring them all under the ambit of one governing body is aimed at rectifying these issues. A total of seven such colonies are being transferred to the MCG, starting with Sushant Lok 1 and Palam Vihar.

Vishnu Khanna, a resident of Sushant Lok-1, who plans to contest in the next residents’ welfare association (RWA) elections, showed the Hindustan Times a small patch of land in C Block, which was a park until a couple of months ago, but where the trees and shrubs have now been replaced with brick and mortar. The previous RWAs, he says, simply haven’t been able to maintain or protect these spaces.

It’s not entirely the fault of the RWA, as facilities are expensive, says Khanna. Roads, for example, are prohibitively expensive to build, as are transformers for electricity distribution and strengthening security.

These facilities, multiple residents said, were perfectly satisfactory while the developer was still promoting Sushant Lok, to sell plots.

“Once most (plots) had been sold, the builder handed over the essential services to Pro Facilities (ProFac), a private company. This was about 10 years ago and since then, it’s all been a downward spiral,” says resident Meenu Srivastava, who has been complaining about the sewage lines being blocked in her street, making the entire stretch smell foul.

Ravi Saini, general manager of ProFac, Sushant Lok 1, however, maintained that all maintenance activities are being carried out. “We are cleaning the drains, picking up garbage, building roads, providing security guards and more, to the best of our abilities,” he said.

Each time there is a newspaper report of the MCG takeover, Saini said, residents discontinue paying their maintenance. “They think the MCG will come in and fix all the problems, but look at the condition of colonies currently being maintained elsewhere by the corporation. ProFac can surely do a better job than that,” Saini said.

MCG takeover or not, ProFac will continue to exist and work with the corporation, he said.

Rakesh Narang, assistant vice-president of Ansal API, said, “The RWA is currently in an understanding with ProFac and they are the governing body, so I don’t see how they can blame the developer for these issues.”

If the situation doesn’t improve, many residents are planning to sell off their plots to smaller builders for construction of apartment blocks, a practice that has been gaining steam in Sushant Lok-1 over the last five years. Property prices in the area are still around Rs65,000 per square yard, given its proximity to Huda City Center and new Gurugram, making resale a viable option for unhappy owners.

However, the added burden of resale-induced construction and the influx of people into these new apartment blocks, is only making the delivery of services like water and electricity more erratic. “The colony just isn’t designed for so many people or so much construction. What we’re seeing is a total corruption of the original zoning plan. There just aren’t enough resources or space for everyone,” said MM Sharma, adding that residents like him want their colony restored to its original beauty.

MCG commissioner Yashpal Yadav could not be reached for a comment.

First Published: Sep 27, 2018 03:22 IST