Dust on construction just won’t settle

Entire Gurugram seems to be under a construction siege, especially the new upcoming sectors surrounding Dwarka Expressway and Manesar; With the highest concentration of construction activity in NCR, Gurugram has over 2,000 approved projects & an estimated 1,000 illegal constructions underway any day

Sumedha Sharma

If Gurugram spent the last decade graduating from being Delhi’s satellite town to a cosmopolitan city with an international identity, it has of late been struggling with the tag of being a “city in perpetual progress” — a city where construction activity, more illegal than legal — just does not seem to end, wherever you go. Be it the upcoming highways like Dwarka Expressway or infrastructure upgrade like underpasses or foot over bridges, development of new residential sectors, housing projects or rampant illegal constructions in every single lane and street — the endless construction activity has become an inevitable part of the lives of Gurugram residents.

Though for years together the residents have put up with it and learned to live with the endless construction activity, it is assuming catastrophic proportions, threatening the area’s ecology, environment and needless to say, quality of life. The rampant construction activity, in fact, has turned Gurugram into the biggest dust bowl of NCR.

While high vehicular density and emissions are easily listed as the main reasons for the poor air quality in Gurugram, it is rampant construction which seems to be the biggest culprit.

According to rough estimates, at any given hour, construction activity is underway at over 2,000 approved and 1,000 illegal buildings in Gurugram. No wonder the new normal —residents with masks on, an ever increasing incidence of pulmonary infections and very poor visibility. With no foresight in sanctioning or monitoring the activities, the easily violated ban on construction activities every second month is the only measure the authorities have come up with. Lack of a single permission issuing and monitoring agency has led to utter chaos in regulating the construction work in the city. While GMDA does aspire to solve the issue, but given the technicalities, HUDA or MCG still hold the reins.

There is also lack of enforcement staff and zeal, with only a dozen officials in a city the size of Gurugram to check illegal constructions, bylaw violations and penalise violators.

Zone-wise construction

Gurugram is currently under development as per Master Plan 2031, which divides the city into the following construction zones

Zone 1: Sectors 1-57

Construction activity

Legal: Minimal

Illegal: High

Zone 2: Sectors 58-67

Construction activity: High

Zone 3: Sectors 68-80

Construction activity: High

Fourth cluster: 81-95

Construction activity: Minimal

Fifth cluster: 95 to 115

Construction activity: Minimal

Construction, demolition waste clogs the city

Though garbage and waste treatment has been a long pending problem, construction and demolition waste is turning out to be the biggest headache for the authorities and residents alike. With rampant construction across the city, not only does construction material lie uncovered and scattered, but the pile-up clogs everything from roads, green belts to drains.

The areas particularly affected are Old Gurugram, including HUDA sectors 14, 15, 17, Housing Board colonies and green belts.

‘Can’t scuttle development’

}Gurugram is in a phase of development or transformation and we cannot scuttle development. We have all norms and rules in place, but, yes, there is no denying the fact that a lot needs to be done. Multi-agency monitoring was a key concern but things have really improved over the last few months with GMDA’s constitution as all agencies are now on an interface to coordinate and plan betterRs

Chandrashekhar Khare, Gurugram Administrator, HSVP

‘Enforcement an issue’

It’s not that we or the other agencies don’t have norms and trust me if these are followed, construction shall not pose any of the issues, but enforcement is a concern. There are issues of jurisdiction, major staff crunch and proactive involvement. We on our part have penalised a record number of violators, be it in times of smog or for construction and demolition waste, but still people should themselves follow norms and update us about violators — Yashpal Yadav, MCG Commissioner

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