An open letter from a disraught Gurgaon resident
Dear Gurgaon administration,
Ten years ago, I opted to buy a house in Gurgaon, leaving behind a rented ‘Yamuna par’ apartment to a purportedly tony address : DLF City Phase 3. I came to the promise of quiet enclave with greenery all around, no fights over parking space, no water problems, no major electricity problems. Every thing seemed hunky dory till some after we shifted. And how my dreams have been shattered…
Murphy’s Law says if anything can go wrong , it will. With Gurgaon, it changes to if everything can go wrong, it will. Here I live in an address that is surrounded by an urban mess. The drainage system doesn’t work. I am told constantly that the drains were meant for a small colony but now the Nathupur village nearby also sends its sewage into the same drains, so we have to put up with over flowing sewers.
Almost five years ago, bang opposite my house, a huge drain was dug up for a bigger sewage system. Well, the site remains dug up, with the muck over flowing there and MCG blames HUDA who blames DLF and god knows under how much muck those files are stuck! But I am treated to the beautiful view of an overflowing drain, instead of a green open space!
Lets talk about the water. This year we supposedly had a monsoon that was well beyond normal. And naturally one thinks that this will translate into uninterrupted water supply. But alas, we have been buying water supplied by private operators, paying Rs 500 for each tanker every alternate day. Of course, our well meaning maintenance managers say they supply water for free. But as they say, there no such thing as a free lunch. It’s the same for water tankers too.
The electricity situation is no better. This is a city that runs on diesel. Looks at very office, mall or apartment complex, they will cease to exist without power-back. The amount of diesel that goes up in smoke every day in Gurgaon must be astonishingly high. Houses didn’t have the advantage of power back, but now residents’ associations in every colony have got together and paid private generator operators to set up a back-up system to supply power. The generator bills each month will tell you the story, even though DHBVN may make a different claim.
The city has shiny glass fronted buildings, that give the skyline a New York kind of look. But what lies beneath the skyline is just chaos. The roads are in no shape to take the traffic. There are more potholes than roads. Three months ago, you decided to dig up MG Road from the border to Sikanderpur and re-lay the tarmac. Admirable. But have you realized how traumatic these three months have been: I have become an expert off-roader and the traffic pile ups, well at least an hour each way. Now, newspaper reports tell me that to complete the re-surfacing of the entire MG Road will take two years. You got to be kidding me!
Another excellent proposal is the Rapid Metro. The construction has been anything but rapid. Every Gurgaonite has had to put up with diversions, bad roads for the past 10 years: first for the construction of the Metro and now Rapid Metro. Of course, the metro service has changed lives of many Gurgaonites, for which we are grateful.
But once you hop off the metro, you are at the mercy of the auto-wallahs, who don’t miss the opportunity to fleece you. After all which other city has a system where there are no meters and auto drivers decide how much fare they will take? There is no public bus system to speak of and even there, it’s the share autos and minis buses that rule the roost.
The Delhi-Gurgaon expressway was built with major fanfare. It was supposed to take the drudge out of commuting to Delhi and vice-verse. But name one person who hasn’t faced the harassment of long queues at the toll gates or the impatient private taxis jumping the line to get ahead? And God forbid we protest for some one may actually whip out a gun.
Gurgaon held the promise of being everything Delhi wasn’t. Gurgaon’s mall mile that once shone with its neon lights, is now a notorious den for drunkards and rapists. It’s the promised land no more. And all that Gurgaonites can do is to cry for their dream which is lost forever.