'The promise given was a necessity of the past: the word broken is a necessity of the present’, so said Machiavelli hundreds of years ago. This adage seems to have been well taken by the Administration in Gurgaon, which for the last one year, has promised a lot – and delivered little. A year back, the HUDA Administrator Dr. Praveen Kumar, arrived in Gurgaon from Faridabad, promising a renaissance, while letting loose the JCB machines that were meant to end the reign of the encroachers.
Giving hope, the HUDA Administrator held Janta Darbars in many sectors, publicly berated the official machinery for non-performance, and promised change in a couple of months. To his credit, he even fought with his own officials, to ensure that the Augean stables are cleaned. But the results are few and far between.
The civic infrastructure in Gurgaon has remained the same, as has the poor quality of services. The roads in HUDA sectors are in a pathetic condition, the sewerage is not working properly, waterlogging is taking place everywhere, and there is no rainwater harvesting structure being built. Hero Honda Chowk once again has become an albatross around the necks of city residents. The much-touted garbage disposal vans, that were supposed to be a permanent solution, have become increasingly rare, the number of cleaners has reduced, and the road patching machine has gone invisible.
Friday Gurgaon visited Sector 23, one of the largest sectors developed by HUDA across the state, to check specific improvements, if any, that have taken place. Dr. Kumar had visited the Sector in November, 2011, and promised several things. Though not much has materialised, residents remarkably still
see a hope in him and his honest ways.
Sector 23, being one of the largest sectors, has 4,500 plots, out of which 3,500 have been built. The population is
Ashok Rana, President of Sector 23 RWA, says that internal roads in this Sector are in a very bad shape, and some of these have not been built for the last 6 to 7 years. “Roads in the north, east, and west pockets are in bad shape. A sanction for repair had come, but people with influence only got their roads relaid,” he alleges. The HUDA Administrator had asked for a list of roads to be repaired, and other major issues. This was duly submitted to him by the RWA. Rana says no action has been taken on this list, and people have been visiting the officials in vain.
The non-working sewerage system is a major problem in the Sector, although HUDA has put in place machines to clear the clogged system; but it is again a matter of too little too late, say residents. The storm water drainage system is also incomplete, and the residents have vainly made repeated petitions to the concerned officials.
“There is waterlogging in most parts of the Sector, as rain water gets collected due to no proper evacuation,” says Rana.
The Delhi boundary walls around the green belts are also in bad shape, and residents say that this also causes security concerns. At an average, Rana says, there is one theft or snatching in the Sector daily, and the police has not been able to check the crimes. “We have requested for more vigilance, and met senior police officials, but nothing moves. The HUDA officials had removed the colony gates, but when the matter was put up before Dr. Kumar he promised to put the gates back. This issue is also pending,” says Rana. He has become a virtual call centre as colony residents keep on calling him for one issue or the other.
The garbage disposal vans that were launched with much fanfare by HUDA are making lesser appearances; and the absence of the private disposal system is causing major problems to the residents. The roads in many pockets of the Colony are waterlogged, and the promised rain water harvesting structures have not been built, claims Balwan Singh, General Secretary of the RWA.
Despite the size of the Sector, Singh says, there is no medical facility for the residents – the site for the dispensary is lying vacant, there is no post office, and people have to go to Palam Vihar to access the services. “We had demanded that a club be opened by HUDA in this Sector, but Dr. Kumar said that the community centre would be converted into a multi-utility facility. Even this has not happened,” he says.
The residents are also peeved over the lack of a good playground for the children and teenagers. Another resident Satish Rana, whose son plays Ranji trophy for the Haryana team, says that children need space to play and develop their talent, but lack of space makes things very difficult. Rana used to take his son to Firozshah Kotla in Delhi every day, to ensure that his skills are not lost, as it usually happens. But he admits that there may not be many parents who have the time and the inclination to make this effort.
Unfortunately, the Gurgaon city bus service, which has been started with much fanfare, also does not cover this Sector. The buses from the Bus-stand come only till Palam Vihar, and in fact most of these remain vacant. Residents allege that the auto-mafia has become a hindrance in the movement of the buses. The residents have repeatedly requested the transport officials, including General Manager Yashender Singh, to extend the route, but nothing has happened despite repeated requests. They now plan to approach the higher authorities.
“The Palam Vihar to Jwala Mill route could give excellent service to the residents, and a lot of revenue to the bus authorities, but it seems they do not want to help the citizens,” says Singh. It seems the tale is the same for every issue connected with civic life in Gurgaon – whether it is Sector 23, or New Gurgaon across the Highway. With no perceived ‘benefit’ on keeping the promises, it seems the officialdom has gone to sleep – even as residents keep on walking the miles to reach their goals.