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Teething woes for transferred colonies in Gurugram

In the absence of a law that empowers RWAs to look after their own colonies, exit of builders as service providers in four transferred colonies has created new problems

gurgaon Updated: Jun 10, 2019 08:20 IST
Kartik Kumar
Kartik Kumar
Hindustan Times, Gurugram
Housing,real estate,real estate noida
In Sushant Lok 1, only four of its five blocks have security. (HTFilePhoto)

In the four privately developed colonies—Sushant Lok 1, South City 1, Palam Vihar and Suncity—where maintenance of civic infrastructure was taken over by the Municipal Corporation of Gurugram (MCG) almost three months ago, residents are facing difficulty in the upkeep of non-mandatory services, especially security, creating law and order concerns.

Cases of burglary, snatching, and thefts have seen a major rise since February, as most colonies are operating without any security guards, residents said, adding that in the absence of a statute for licenced colonies, as is the case with condominiums, their residents’ welfare associations (RWA) have been effectively rendered powerless.

In case of condominiums, the Haryana Ownership Act, 1983, authorizes the RWAs to fix and collect from residents a fee for maintenance of services, such as security, common utility bills etc. But no such law exists for licenced colonies.

Anticipating that such a vacuum may arise after the transfer, the RWAs of the eight transferred colonies have been repeatedly raising this demand with the Urban Local Bodies’ (ULB) department and the Department of Town and Country Planning since last year, but to no avail.

Prior to the MCG takeover, over 80 security guards looked after the colony in shifts, said former RWA president Sunil Yadav. This, however, was 44% less than what was required. Since February 12, when the DTCP directed the MCG to take over South City 1, Palam Vihar and Sushant Lok 1, there is not a single security guard looking after the colony and instances of car thefts have become a common occurrence, Yadav said.

“Incidents of thefts have increased manifolds in the colony. Ideally, the colony needed 120 security guards for proper supervision. However, we have been living without any guards since the last three months. Every alternate day, a car is being stolen,” Yadav said, adding that a Toyota Fortuner was stolen from outside his doorstep two weeks ago in broad daylight.

When HT visited the colony, residents informed that two cars of the same resident were stolen within a month. According to the residents, after an SUV of the said person was stolen, he bought another car with the vehicle’s security insurance, but this new car was also stolen within three weeks.

Residents said that what worsens Palam Vihar’s situation is the local court’s stay on RWA elections in the colony, which has been operating without an RWA since March 31.

In Sushant Lok 1, at least four of its five blocks have had security.

After the MCG took over the colony three months ago, barring block C, residents of all the other blocks decided to continue with the security being provided by the agency that had been contracted by the developer. “However, the agency and the RWA could not agree upon certain terms for block C, which meant that more than 15,000 people were left without any security,” RWA member Sudhir Sachdeva said.

Since then, instances of snatching, burglary and thefts have become common, Sachdeva said, adding that within the past week, a house was burgled and chains of two women were snatched by motorcycle-borne men.

He added that instances of valuables being stolen from cars after smashing their windows are being reported almost every day.

“There is a major security issue in the colony since February. Earlier, 120 security guards patrolled the C block. Now, there is not even a single person. Women and the elderly feel unsafe to venture outside their homes after the sun sets. It is a problematic issue which needs to be addressed immediately, and hence, we want the ‘plotted areas Act’ to be enforced urgently so that the RWA is empowered to take necessary actions,” he said.

Security concerns arising because of absence of community security have been flagged from South City 1 as well.

Prior to the taking over, 20 security guards patrolled the entire colony, president of South City 1 RWA CM Gupta said, adding that now not even a single security guard remains.

“In the absence of any security cover, only those who have hired personal security guards to be stationed outside their houses can sleep with any feeling of safety. Just yesterday, two SUVs were stolen from different parts of the colony. The (civic) takeover has hence left us with more problem than before,” Gupta said.

The only exception to this turmoil over security in these licenced colonies is Suncity, where the Gurugram police has been providing security since 2012. VMK Singh, former general secretary of Suncity RWA, said that PCR vans are stationed at various points across the colony.

The colony, however, is not unaffected by the civic take over.

Singh said that in the absence of an Act governing plotted areas, the number of encroachments and illegal constructions have increased.

“Provisions under the Haryana Ownership Act empower RWAs in condominiums to take action against encroachments and illegal constructions. In the last two months, in several parts of Suncity, people have built more than four floors, exceeding the permissible limit; vacant plots in some areas have been encroached upon by dwellers. In the absence of any regulation we have been left helpless,” Singh said.

Echoing Singh’s concern and helplessness, RS Rathee, president of Gurgaon Citizens’ Council, an apex body of all RWAs in the city, said that for the last three years the council has submitted to all the departments concerned, in Gurugram and Chandigarh, a memorandum seeking the formation of a new Act for plotted colonies.

No action has been taken on the issue despite repeated visits to various heads ever since chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar had directed the MCG to take over the colonies in February 2016, Rathee said, adding that the memorandum has been submitted to chief minister ML Khattar, heads of DTCP and ULB in Chandigarh on various occasions. However, no concrete response has come from their side, he said.

“It’s been more than three years since the issue was first raised by the council. We had realised that fate of non-mandatory services will become a major issue as there is no provision to delegate a body to look after it besides the developer. In an ideal scenario, the Act should have been formulated much before the MCG started the takeover process. However, it is yet to be worked out,” Rathee said.

Anand Mohan Saran, the principal secretary of ULB, could not be reached for comment, while DTCP director KM Pandurang said he will revert after looking into the matter.

“Security is a major issue in any area and MCG had taken cognisance of this, prior to taking over private colonies. Although the MCG is not the competent authority for introducing a Plotted Areas Act, the issue has been forwarded to concerned authorities for perusal. In addition, the MCG does not provide security to colonies individually, if the residents want, they can arrange on their own,” MCG commissioner Yashpal Yadav said.

First Published: Jun 10, 2019 05:06 IST