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Farida(bad) loses out in NCR race

Built to protect a highway, Faridabad is now trying hard to stay connected. Will delimitation change things for the better? Prabhu Razdan reports. Graphics

india Updated: Apr 17, 2009 01:52 IST
Prabhu Razdan
Prabhu Razdan
Hindustan Times

Much before the concept of the National Capital Region was envisaged in the mid 1980s, Faridabad was already serving Delhi as a satellite town with its big industrial estates and sprawling residential colonies. People travelled to and fro for work and education, treating Faridabad as an extension of the national capital.

But today, residents of Faridabad — built in 1607 by Jahangir’s treasurer to protect a highway that passed through this town — are struggling with the basic issue of connectivity. This industrial town, one of the biggest in Haryana, neither has good roads nor decent rail connectivity. Delhi Metro will reach Noida, Gurgaon and Ghaziabad in 2010, but plans for Faridabad are still on paper.

“In the 1970s, Faridabad’s name and fame had no match. We were a developed urban centre when Gurgaon and Noida were just tracts of farmland. But Faridabad had the misfortune of having not produced any chief minister. We just got lost on the way,” said Ashwani Trikha, a 42-year-old lawyer who grew up here.

Delimitation took away almost the entire Mewat area. The constituency, spread over nine assembly segments, has no end to problems, but caste and religious equations always get precedence over basic issues.

The 17,000 big and small industries do not have adequate water and power supply. “Lack of infrastructure is the reason why no mother unit has entered Faridabad in the last 15 years,” said Rajiv Chawla, president of Faridabad Small Industries Association.

Out of 1,096 polling stations, 49 per cent are in urban areas. But broken roads are a common sight. In five years, malls have mushroomed on either side of Mathura Road and the town has witnessed a real estate boom with the entry private developers. “They are building swanky high-rises but there are no roads to get there,” said Dr Ravi Pandita, who works in a local hospital.

Faridabad was recently in news after the Central Empowered Committee of Supreme Court took a serious view of the constructions on Aravalli Hills. About 1,600 plot holders in Kant Enclave moved court against the administration. “Panic gripped us after the report, forcing us to move court,” Anurag Marwah, a plot holder of Kant Enclave said.

But Marwah like many of his neighbours is hoping that with delimitation, his concerns will be better heard. “I wish our representatives become our people.”

Faridabad was chosen by the UPA government for the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission. The Badarpur flyover is going to minimise commuters’ problem. “It would not be wrong to say that things are looking up. Delimitation has brought us back on the political map. Our forgotten town may find its place again,” said Ramesh Choudhry (51), a businessman.

First Published: Apr 16, 2009 23:50 IST