Friday, 17 February 2017

New face of Gurgaon: Metro expansion, hi-tech security

Chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar agrees Haryana's No. 1 city, Gurgaon, needs urgent attention. Basic infrastructure—roads, power, water, sewerage—is in a shambles, mainly because of the unplanned expansion of the city. But in a candid interview with TOI's Manvir Saini and Ajay Sura, the CM promised he will ensure the Millennium City gets world-class infrastructure. On the cards is an advanced security system with special focus on technical surveillance; a medical college; a modern railway station; Metro expansion, and much more. Excerpts from the interview.

Q: There have been several meetings under your chairmanship to decide on the alignment of the Dwarka-Iffco Chowk Metro route. However, even after two and a half years, there has been no forward movement.
A: We explored several possibilities on how to connect Old and New Gurgaon. Such facilities are planned only once in a while, maybe once in 50 years. We want to make sure that we create the infrastructure that makes business sense and is sustainable as well. We have almost firmed up the route and it will be revealed soon.

Q: Crime is rising. What steps is the government taking to make the city more secure?
A: We have planned to open 10 new police stations. Some dedicated police stations will also be opened to deal with cyber crime. Extra manpower will be provided after the newly recruited staff complete their training.

Q: The people of Gurgaon voted for you to see development but all that you offered was a name change — from Gurgaon to Gurugram. Many feel that it is a retrograde step...
A: We have announced our intention to open a medical college, start a city bus service and also implement the Transit Oriented Development (TOD) policy. We are committed to the development of the city. Remembering and cherishing our heritage is never retrograde. Gurugram Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA) will be a reality immediately after the Budget session in March.

Q: The state projects Gurgaon to attract investment but the city has not witnessed any infrastructure upgrade in the past few years. How will Gurgaon compete with other states with such poor infrastructure?
A: The infrastructure issues are the result of a long period of poor planning. GMDA will provide the effective solution and ensure world-class infrastructure. We realize that turnaround period available for this city is very small. So, we are putting our best officers here. The global investors' meet, Happening Haryana, in March 2016 was a great success.

Q: Senior industry leaders are worried about the unavailability of infrastructures such as power and public transport...
A: The power scenario has dramatically improved despite the fact that demand grew almost 18% only during last year. And, please don't forget that we succeeded in improving the rank of Haryana in Ease of Doing Business from 14th in 2015 to 5th in 2016.

Q: Several proposals for improving connectivity between Delhi and Gurgaon have remained on paper for years leading to congestion on NH-8. Plans like NPR or Dwarka Expressway is incomplete, an alternate four-lane road from Bajghera to Bijwasan to connect NPR with Delhi has remained on paper. The proposal to connect Gurgaon-Faridabad Road with Nelson Mandela Marg in Delhi, via MG Road, has remained a non-starter...
A: When several agencies from the state and Centre are involved, there are always some teething and coordination problems. But with GMDA we are going to put in a place a completely different planning structure.

Q: Despite a massive traffic jam on NH-8 in July 2016 due to waterlogging, no concrete efforts have been made to find a permanent solution to the problem!
A: The plan to widen the Badshapur drain is firmly in place and under implementation. We are conscious of what happened last year. The cleaning of clogged drains was started this winter only. The proof of the pudding will be yours to taste when the time comes.

Q: People living in areas like DLF, Sushant Lok, South City and Ardee City continue to struggle with major problems such as non-existent roads and insufficient power supply. When can we expect any development in these areas?
A: While previous governments could not hand over even Huda sectors to MCG, our determination to expedite the transfer of private colonies to MCG is for all to see. The policy is in place and different areas are at different stages of the transfer process. We will further expedite these.


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