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Gurgaon collapsing? City stares at civic mess

A growing water demand-supply mismatch, parched taps in summers, slush-laden roads of monsoons, unending dark stretches and an obscene amount of garbage consuming the city as one gigantic slum. Dhananjay Jha reports.

india Updated: May 13, 2013 18:47 IST
Dhananjay Jha
Dhananjay Jha
Hindustan Times
Dhananjay Jha,slum,garbage

A growing water demand-supply mismatch, parched taps in summers, slush-laden roads of monsoons, unending dark stretches and an obscene amount of garbage consuming the city as one gigantic slum. To say that Gurgaon is staring at an impending civic infrastructure catastrophe would be an understatement.

Influx of migrants, lack of any futuristic vision and over-drawing of resources has descended Gurgaon into chaos.

The HT-C fore survey has revealed that around 40% residents are not satisfied with the civic standards of the city.

Kavita Munjal, a teacher, is one such resident. Hoping to lead a comfortable life, Munjal had bought a residential plot in DLF Phase 3 in 1999.

But thanks to severe water crises and sanitation problems, Munjal had to leave the plush locality and shift to Tatvam Villa, an upscale gated locality at Sohna road.

"When we decided to shift to India in 1998 from Malaysia, we chose Gurgaon over Delhi. After 14 years of struggle, we were finally forced to shift to a gated locality where basic amenities such as water and power are taken care of through generators and groundwater extraction," said Munjal.

Like her, scores of people have shifted homes in search of an abode that doesn't have any civic problems.

Though it has been tagged the Millennium City, Gurgaon has time and again failed to meet any of the parameters that signify good living standards.

Solid waste management
If a Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) report is to be believed, Gurgaon will 'drown in its own excreta' by 2021. The 2012 report -Excreta Matters' -has thrown some startling revelations. The most frightening being that the city will generate 533 million litres of sewage by 2021, but its capacity to treat waste water will fall short at 255MLD.

Currently, the city generates 450 metric tonnes of solid waste per day. The MCG data, however, has been termed as a 'lie' by the residents.

"The 450 metric tonnes figure is a lie. The city generates 1,200 tonnes of waste. The present waste management system is not equipped to tackle the menace," said RS Rathee, member of residents' body.

This picture shows the solid waste treatment plant on Gurgaon-Faridabad Expressway in Bandhwari village, Gurgaon. (Parveen Kumar/HT)

In an interactive session conducted by HT earlier this month, residents termed the Bandhwari solid waste plant a "complete failure".

"The plant is running under-capacity. Waste is being accumulated in the Aravalli like a landfill, contaminating the water," said a junior engineer of the Faridabad Municipal Corporation.

The Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon (MCG) currently employs 1,500 sanitation workers while the city requires at least 3,500 workers. Moreover, it does not have dumpers to transport waste from the city to the plant site despite an annual budget of Rs 50 crore.

"We have asked the developer of the Bandhwari plant to double its capacity from 600 to 1,200 tonnes/day," said Sumit Dhankhar, medical officer, MCG.

Water and power shortage
The CSE report has also revealed that with a projected population of 3.7 million by 2021, Gurgaon will have water demand of 666 million litres per day (MLD) but it will be able to generate only 573MLD water.

The city currently requires 110MGD water. However, the Haryana Urban Development Authority (Huda) -- the sole canal water supplying agency - is supplying only 55MGD. While drinking water is sourced from canals and make for 62% of supply, the secondary source of groundwater extraction is causing water-table depletion at the rate of 250 metre per year.

"How does Huda plans to feed people by 2021? The 60MGD Basai water plant is running under capacity while the new 110MGD plant at Chandubudhera is not functional," said RS Rathee, a resident.

However, former Huda chief engineer Pankaj Kumra claims the Chandubudhera plant will be able to supply 66MGD water by 2016.

The power scenario is no better.

A view of an unlit road at the Faridabad Expressway connecting Genpact crossing on Golf Course Road, Gurgaon. (Sanjeev Verma/HT)

Gurgaon's current per day power demand is 1,500MW while the Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitaran Nigam (DHBVN) is able to supply just 900MW- 1,100MW per day - resulting in long power cuts in this sweltering heat.

"We are ready to pay extra for electricity. Like Delhi, we want the government to invite private players for power distribution here as well," said TN Kaul, a resident of Ardee City.

Commercial and technical losses, thefts, short-circuits, outdated infrastructure -- all lead to erratic power supply, forcing residents to take to the streets every summer.

Traffic management
"The government just focuses on the expressway and does not have any traffic management plans for local commuters. Inadequate traffic signals and lack of road signages is a major problem," said Rohit Baluja, president, Institute of Road Traffic Education (IRTE), Delhi.

Some major roads in the city such as Gurgaon-Faridabad expressway, Golf Course, Sikandarpur-Golf Course road, Palam Vihar-Sector 5 road are badly lit and do not have traffic signals.

"We have a plan to install 3,000 LCD lights on all major roads," said Arun Dhankhar, executive engineer, Huda.

(With inputs from Charumathi Sankaran and Badri Chatterjee)

People of Gurgaon staged a protest against blocking the entry at service lane after taking the U-trun. The protest led a huge jam from toll plaza to Mahipalpur flyover. (Manoj Kumar/HT)

First Published: May 13, 2013 15:03 IST