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Home / India News / Glittering Golf Course Road at centre of Gurugram’s regular flooding woes

Glittering Golf Course Road at centre of Gurugram’s regular flooding woes

Three underpasses were flooded by the rain, one of which at DLF Phase 1 could be cleared only by late Thursday evening, after more than 30 hours of non-stop efforts by fire service personnel to drain the water.

india Updated: Aug 21, 2020, 07:46 IST
Kartik Kumar
Kartik Kumar
Hindustan Times, Gurugram
Haryana Emergency Services vehicle deployed for rescue after Golf Course Road underpass was fully inundated following heavy rains in Gurugram.
Haryana Emergency Services vehicle deployed for rescue after Golf Course Road underpass was fully inundated following heavy rains in Gurugram. (Parveen Kumar/HT Photo )

Gurugram: Golf Course Road (GCR) is a seven-kilometre, signal-free corridor that boasts some of the toniest residential apartment blocks and imposing steel-and-glass office facades in Gurugram, with wide driving spaces and underpasses leading into and out of the city . Underneath all the glitter, the stretch between Ghata T-Point and Bristol Chowk has many drawbacks that were exposed when torrential rain lashed GCR on Wednesday and triggered chaos.

Three underpasses were flooded by the rain, one of which at DLF Phase 1 could be cleared only by late Thursday evening, after more than 30 hours of non-stop efforts by fire service personnel to drain the water. Such was the extent of flooding that the entire structure was filled with rainwater, some of which started overflowing onto the main carriageway located more than three metres above the underpass.

It was in October 2010 that the project of redesigning Golf Course Road was outsourced to DLF. In June 2012, DLF and Haryana Shahri Vikas Pradhikaran (HSVP).jointly started construction of the 16-lane project and three years later, most of the work on the main carriageways was completed.In March 2017, the first of the three underpasses was opened to traffic at Bristol Chowk; the second opened at DLF Phase 1 a month later; and the one at Genpact Chowk became operational in March 2018.

As part of the agreement between HSVP and DLF, the latter was the caretaker of the stretch and the former the owner.

Starting at 11 am on Wednesday, each of these three underpasses was flooded and the traffic police had to close them to traffic. Underpasses at Genpact Chowk and Bristol Chowk were drained of flood waters by Wednesday evening, but the one at DLF Phase 1 proved to be more challenging.

A DLF executive said the main HSVP drain through which the underpasses’ drainage system is connected was choked and as a result, the rainwater flowed back.

“At each of the three underpasses, we have a chamber located below the underpasses where rainwater is stored and is pumped out from our motors towards the HSVP’s master line. On Wednesday, HSVP’s pipeline was choked especially at the line connected to DLF Phase 1 underpass due to which the entire rainwater flowed back and inundated the underpass,” said the executive, who requested anonymity.

Starting in 2018, all of HSVP’s drains were transferred to the Gurugram Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA).

“We are still examining the reason behind the waterlogging of the underpasses on GCR as it has occurred for the first time at this particular stretch. GCR does not have any drains on the surface and as a result rainwater from across the road flows down towards the underpasses. We are suspecting that the motor pumps installed by DLF were either not working or working at a limited capacity. We are verifying this,” said VS Kundu, chief executive officer of GMDA.

Rakesh Kapoor, a resident of DLF 5, said that he had a narrow escape; he managed to navigate his vehicle through the underpass just a few minutes before it was completely flooded.

“I have an SUV, which has a high ground clearance due to which I was able to clear the underpass in the nick of time as the level of rainwater suddenly started rising. Soon after I cleared the underpass, I took a U-turn and decided to head back home. On my way, I saw a sedan was stuck inside the underpass, and its occupant had left it midway. I was left completely shocked and appalled. I paid crores of money to purchase a house in a safe area, but I cannot even get a safe stretch of road to drive on during rains. My moving from Delhi seemed futile,” said Kapoor.

Nine cars broke down in the waterlogging on Wednesday on Golf Course Road and seven two wheelers got stuck, said Sanjeev Balhara, assistant commissioner of police (traffic).

“We removed the cars with the help of cranes and ropes tied to PCR {police control room} vehicles and the personnel helped the motorcyclists to park their vehicles at safe places. Two drivers had to swim to get to a safe spot, leaving their cars in water. One of the luxury cars was removed on Thursday,” he said.

Sewa Ram, an urban transport systems design expert and a faculty member at the School of Planning and Architecture (SPA) in Delhi, said that drainage system of the underpasses in the city needs to be reviewed.

“Since their construction, underpasses have regularly flooded each time there is heavy rain. It is obvious that there is an inherent issue there somewhere. Underpasses are located below the surface level and hence, will always remain susceptible to waterlogging. The underpasses are either not or poorly linked to the master drains, or the latter are choked or operating at a minimal capacity, leading to drain water flowing back. Unless a thorough study and survey assessment is done, the situation will remain the same,” he said.

Golf Course Road also has few pedestrian facilities and high-speed accidents are common on the stretch. Barring crossing the stretch from the five rapid metro stations on the road, there are no other facilities available to pedestrians, four of whom died in road accidents on GCR last year, according to the Haryana Vision Zero (HVZ) report.

In May 2018, two people died and a woman co-pilot with a commercial airliner was severely injured after their cab collided with an SUV that was travelling on the wrong side inside the Bristol Chowk underpass. In January last year, a 30-year old man working as a chef in one of the eateries on GCR died after he and his pillion rider were hit by a speeding cab at the Genpact Chowk crossing. In January, a luxury sedan hit two motorcycles near the Genpact Chowk underpass, injuring four people.

Sarika Panda Bhatt, a road safety expert and the programme coordinator of the now-defunct HVZ, said that in July, last year, the district road safety committee recommended the implementation of pedestrian-friendly measures at eight key crossings on the GCR at Bristol Chowk, DLF Phase 1 and DLF Phase 4 traffic junctions, the Sector 42 junction, two points opposite Club Drive, AIT Chowk, Sector 55-56 bus stop and Ghata T-point.

Bhatt said that none of the recommendations ,including pedestrian crossings, signage, road markings and pedestrian lights, have been implemented so far.

“None of our recommendations were ever implemented on the stretch. A fresh safety audit of the GCR is required to identify all its ailments for once and get these measures rectified immediately or else lives of thousands would continue to be endangered,” said Bhatt.

A statement from DLF said Golf Course Road was jointly upgraded by the Haryana Urban Development Authority and the company, and “designed and developed as per international standard, as a toll-free 16 lane expressway to enhance the connectivity of the adjoining sectors to the national highway.”

“The idea behind the Golf Course Road has always been to provide the citizens of Gurugram with world class infrastructure.”

The statement further said every element including pavements, foot over-bridges (with the exception of one, pending government approval), wide and tall road partitions, was designed to ensure he safety of pedestrians.

“While we have put in all our efforts in making it seamless for both commuters and pedestrians, however, the day to day management and policing is beyond our control, and lies with the civic authorities.” the statement said.

The statement blamed the flooding of the underpass in DLF Phase I on reverse discharge of rain water from the master drainage system, without apportioning blame.

“Despite two consecutive nights of rains, a team of more than 60 people from DLF have been working tirelessly over the past 30 hours, with 2 fire engines, water tanks and pumps, alongside the government authorities, to make the underpass operational by Thursday evening.We were extremely swift in deploying all our resources to clear 6 out of 7 underpasses on Raghavendra Marg, in less than 6 hours time, despite high intensity rainfall which is 6-7 times higher than the designed capacity of the master drainage system of Gurugram,” the company added in the statement.

HSVP administrator Jitender Yadav said his agency had nothing to do with maintaining the GCR.

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