Millennium city’s sinuous civic circus
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Millennium city’s sinuous civic circus

Gurgaon has a new sobriquet—Lake City. Some residents have started referring to it as “Atlantis”, comparing it to the mythical city. Ironically, while Atlantis sank into the ocean “in a single day and night of misfortune” and stayed down there, Gurgaon drowns every monsoon, dries up and is ready to be drowned again in the next season, writes Sanjeev K Ahuja.

india Updated: Jul 09, 2010 23:46 IST
Sanjeev K Ahuja
Sanjeev K Ahuja
Hindustan Times

Gurgaon has a new sobriquet—Lake City. Some residents have started referring to it as “Atlantis”, comparing it to the mythical city. Ironically, while Atlantis sank into the ocean “in a single day and night of misfortune” and stayed down there, Gurgaon drowns every monsoon, dries up and is ready to be drowned again in the next season.

An example of this is what happened when it rained a couple of days back—the downpour left the city’s roads submerged in storm water, caused eight-hour-long traffic jams and exposed how ill-equipped the civic agencies are to tackle such eventualities. One of the weakest points in the city, as far as rain and drainage systems are concerned, is the Hero Honda crossing on the Gurgaon Expressway. Water logging is a year-long phenomenon here irrespective of whether it rains or not.

The sole reason why it hasn’t become a breeding ground for fish and other aquatic lifeforms is that the water is constantly disturbed by vehicles passing through it.

And behind all this is the master sewerage and storm water channel, or rather the absence of it which causes muck to gather on the road. During monsoons, the city smells like one big gutter.

That’s not all. The city, home to more than 5,000 expats, including foreign executives, doesn’t have a solid waste treatment plant and also lacks a multi-level parking facility.

Over the last 30 years, the government agencies have collected nearly Rs 8,000 crore from developers as External Development Charges (EDC).

However, these same agencies still seem clueless on how to complete the missing links of the fragmented master sewerage and storm water drainage lines.

Two years after its formation, the Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon (MCG) is still to take charge of the maintenance of the colonies developed by Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) and private developers such as DLF, Ansals, Unitech and others.

On the other hand, HUDA, apparently lost in its own world, is still to hand over all its roads to the MCG for maintenance.

Blind to all this, the Haryana government has planned 58 new sectors in its Gurgaon-Manesar Urban Integrated Complex 2021 (also known as Master Plan 2021) taking the total number of sectors from 57 to 115.

“We wonder how HUDA, having collected thousands of crores of Rupees as EDC, is going to provide the basic civic infrastructure to the 58 new sectors when it has already failed to provide the sewerage and storm water channels for the existing 57,” said R.S. Rathee, former president, DLF Qutub Enclave RWA.

That’s not all. HUDA officials are not ready to accept the fact that Gurgaon’s population has crossed the 25 lakh mark and are still making provisions for civic amenities, including water, for just 10-11 lakh people—the population according to it.

It’s been two years since the Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon was formed. It is still not the authority that manages the city’s civic issues.

Neither the sewage or drainage nor sanitation has come under the control of MCG in these two years.

“Sewerage and storm water line has many missing links due to court stay orders. We are trying to see what can be done though it is not directly in our control. However, we have procured Super Sucker Machine at the cost of Rs 65 lakh to flush out the choked sewage lines,” MCG commissioner Rajesh Khullar said.

Till November last, nearly 200 tonnes of garbage collected daily from the city used to be dumped near DLF City (I) just off the Faridabad road. The MCG move the site to village Badhwari after corporate honchos and DLF residents took to the streets and christened the crossing as Kachra Chowk.

Now, the MCG, in joint venture with its Faridabad counterpart, is going to set up a solid waste treatment plant at Badhwari on Faridabad Road. The land for the same was transferred from MCF to HUDA overnight after HT launched its Kachra Chowk campaign, admits Khullar.

He says the plant with a capacity to treat 1,200 tonnes of solid waste a day, is likely to completed by July 25—the date given by NBCC, which is constructing the facility.

Case Studies:

No option but to live with the smell

Col (Retd) BS Ahluwalia, resident of Parsvnath Green Ville, Sohna Road

Col (Retd.) B.S. Ahluwalia, who moved to Gurgaon from Chandigarh as his son—senior executive with Genpact-—works here, regrets having relocated. Storm water mixed with sewage flooded the lawns of Parsvnath Green Ville, a gated community of 484 apartments when it rained recently.

Storm water and sewage muck submerged the 20-ft deep underground sewerage treatment plant (STP), as there are no vents for it. Col Ahluwalia says the residents had no option but to live with the foul smell.

The master sewerage line and storm water drainage channels that HUDA is supposed to lay have still not been laid in totality and the maintenance agency has no option but to use semi-treated water to water the plants and wash the inside roads.

The maintenance agency is now pumping out the sewage water from the STP and dumping it on a vacant plot just outside the complex’s boundary wall.

Under the water are potholes

Mishika Makhija, resident of Sector-14

The Makhija family lives in a one-storey house. They have been living here for the past 5 years and own three cars. The road outside their house leads to the famous sector-14 market and is a veritable roller-coaster ride. With the road in a pathetic condition, their cars jump from one pothole to another.

They have been requesting the authorities to relay the roads but till now nothing has been done.

The road is just one story. The colony’s drainage system another. Since the drains are clogged with muck, the water does not flush out of the road. The water which flows into the road from various houses when they wash their cars or water their gardens stays on the road, forming small puddles which in turn not only spread diseases like dengue but also spoil the road.

And since it’s monsoon season and the rains fall every second day water collects on the road leading to waterlogging. “The department concerned doesn’t do anything about this and its now spoiling our cars,” says Makhija.

The family now has to think twice before heading out of their homes in their cars.

With inputs from Eshani Mathur

First Published: Jul 09, 2010 23:39 IST