Sector 1 and 2 harbour the posh Palam Vihar colony, that has witnessed a steep rise in rentals and property prices—but the quality of life for the citizens has remained quite the same. An inadequate security set-up managed by a private company, usage of colony roads as throughfare, and an exponential increase in the population of nearby unauthorised colonies are some major issues.
Despite these problems, Palam Vihar is still one of the best areas to live, as it retains the old world charm. It has wide roads, some of which are well maintained; and a lot of greenery and open spaces make it a perfect address for those looking to avoid the heat and dust of ‘new’ Gurgaon. As soon as you enter the colony, there is a marked difference—as it lies on one side of Old Gurgaon, away from corporate offices, and manages to avoid the traffic and floating population of nearby Udyog Vihar.
Jagvir Singh, president of Palam Vyapar Kendra, and a long time resident , says that sewerage and the drainage system need to be ramped up; as they fail regularly during the monsoons. “There is lack of security and poor upkeep of the colony, that is making life difficult for the residents,” he says; adding the condition of some inner roads is bad.
The issue of maintenance of the Vyapar Kendra has also been a bone of contention between the local RWA and the builders (Ansals). Singh says that Ansals have left the traders to fend for themselves, and the maintenance is being taken care of by these local traders. “There is no service from MCG, HUDA—but demands for new taxes are being made from the residents here. Why should we pay taxes when there is no development?” he wants to know. He also says that lack of upkeep and irregular cleaning of the colony has shattered its image.
Sunil Yadav, spokesperson of Palam Vihar Residents Welfare Association says that the developer has left a lot to be done. “We want the Community Centre, which been wrongly included inside the Celebrity Suites apartments to be made available to local residents. The issue of the local club and its functioning needs to be made transparent”, says Yadav. He adds that the Association is also going to court against the developer, for involving a company, Pro Fac, for maintenance—though the Buyers Agreement had named SFML as the maintenance agency.
The RWA is also critical of the developer as well as the government agencies, for failing to develop and maintain the area. Despite paying the Internal Development Charges, there are no walkways in the parks, alleges Yadav.
Harish, a local shopkeeper, wants the authorities to evict illegal encroachments on the roads. He also wants illegal vegetable mandis to stop functioning in the area. “The authorities need to wake up and take action, else people will start moving out”, he asserts.
The colony roads have become major thoroughfares particularly after closure of the Bijwasan railway crossing—as most of traffic now comes through Bajghera. “There is need to widen the road and railway crossing, for people to take the road to Old Gurgaon without entering Palam Vihar”, he adds.
Security is another issue of concern to the local residents. Inadequate security by private security guards, and too much pressure on the local police, has led to a situation where the colony is vulnerable—for miscreants to strike at will. Residents want the number of guards to be increased, and also use of CCTV cameras to check the movement of suspicious people. They also say that security in Blocks A, B and E in particular is bad; and there are many cases of chain snatchings.
Transport facilities in the area are also inadequate, says Sanjeev, who lives in Block A. It is very difficult to commute, as only a few buses are available, he says. People have to rely on autos, to travel to Old Gurgaon, Jwala Milla and Kapashera. However, someone seems to have heard the prayers of the residents—as the Haryana government has approved the proposal for extending the Delhi Metro, from Dwarka to Gurgaon—and Palam Vihar has been selected as one of the stops for the Metro. Palam Vihar has some of the best schools in the city—that include the Chiranjiv Bharti School, Gems International School, Maurya Public School; as well as the nearby Swiss Cottage School. Columbia Asia and Umkal Hospitals are the two premier health destinations.
Palam Vihar Vyapar Kendra, though an expensive shopping destination, offers a variety of products and services. However, the market needs a makeover, as the parking area has broken tarmac; and waterlogging is a permanent feature during the rains. Ansal Plaza, a recent addition, also offers a great shopping experience to residents—and has lessened their dependence on malls in New Gurgaon.
Jagvir Singh, says that they are working towards improving the facilities in the market; and in the last one year many changes have taken place. “We will improve things, but it will take time”, he asserts.