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DELHI HAS BEEN WON BUT THAT WON'T SOLVE PROBLEMS OF NCR
New Delhi: At the helm of MCD, the AAP may now have better control over Delhi but the fortunes and future of Delhi extend much beyond the geographical boundaries of the capital. Cities like Gurugram, Ghaziabad and Noida have a major role to play in the socio-economic success of Delhi. While on the one hand the NCR region holds some of the best prospects for the upwardly mobile, young educated Indian, but on the other hand it also has a dark and messy backyard, conveniently hidden away from the public glare, which is silently grappling with surmounting pressure to fulfil the needs of an ever increasing population. In Gurugram for instance, the economic slowdown gradually making its way across various indices of life may not be as starkly visible, but the ancillary support system that goes into the success of a sustainable cityscape is clearly buckling.
Today in policymaking conference rooms Gurugram has become a reference point of how to not build a city. Public transport and last-mile connectivity is a major problem in Gurugram. People still mostly use their personal vehicles and we know the outcome of such a practice on environment and sustainability. Traffic mess is increasing due to lack of parking space, illmaintained traffic signals and signages, and crater-size potholes. A rain of 4 days this September submerged the whole city. The project to make roads 24-metre wide is still in limbo. Water scarcity is snowballing into a major crisis with groundwater extraction reaching over 300 per cent. With over 45 per cent power being used up by industries and 32 per cent by commercial spaces, only 23 per cent is left for residents, leading to perennial power outages. The city generates 550 million tonnes of sewage every year, whereas 2/3 of the city is not even connected by sewer lines. Its sewage treatment plants have the capacity to manage only 250 million tonnes of sewage. The Bhandwari landfill site is a 150-ft high mount of ignominy that no one has a clue to tackle. At least 2000 tons of unsegregated waste are dumped here every day. In the 1960s there were over 600 water bodies in Gurugram, today hardly 240 exist, thus destroying the city’s natural drainage system.