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Political leadership sees Gurgaon only as a golden goose
A city should be for the people, by the people and of the people. Instead, it seems that Gurgaon is by the government, of the builders and for the builders. What Gurgaon needs is people-focused implementation of plans and projects - as enough planning has been done by a series of past bureaucrats and politicians.

GURGAON MUST pay attention to some key issues and challenges if people are to see all-round development at a pace that’s expected of a city that houses some of the top companies in the world. What needs to be understood by the political leadership in Gurgaon is that nobody gains in the long-run from maintaining status quo. It’s time for action and the people of Gurgaon must raise their voice if they want to witness Gurgaon becoming a world-class city in their lifetime.

Resource utilization in Gurgaon

Gurgaon provides 50 per cent of the revenue of Haryana. The total budget allocation of the state is Rs. 20,000 crores, while Gurgaon contributes as much as Rs. 10,000 crores. Even so, only 10 per cent of the amount allocated to Gurgaon has been utilized. Further, HUDA has received External Development Charges (EDC) to the tune of more than Rs. 5,700 crores from property buyers, whereas just about Rs. 1,200 crores have been utilized. The rest of the funds have either been used to acquire more land or are lying unused in fixed deposits. From this it can well be imagined what Gurgaon would have been had all the funds been utilized.

Political leadership and challenges

Political leadership only sees Gurgaon as a golden goose and is apathetic to the needs of the citizens and the requirements of the city. Urban voters are regularly removed from the electoral lists because politicians fear that they will swing the elections away from them and vote for candidates with a progressive outlook. The three constituencies that make up the Gurgaon Vidhan Sabha seat, Gurgaon, Badshapur and Sohna, should be segregated into urban and rural constituencies for proper development, whereas at present they are mixed. With names of urban voters being deleted, there is an overwhelming presence of rural voters. Local MLAs have neither the vision nor any interest in working for urban areas. 

Role of HUDA and MCG

HUDA is responsible for developing and maintaining the sectors promoted by it and laying down external infrastructure such as sector roads, master sewage and drainage. It has been found wanting in all these spheres. It should step aside in Sectors 1 to 57, which also include areas developed by private builders for MCG to maintain. HUDA should concentrate on the newer Sectors 58 to 115, ensuring that top-quality infrastructure is laid out. The areas developed by private builders should be handed over to MCG at the earliest to prevent profiteering by the builders, in order to redress the grievances of the citizens and to raise revenue to be spent on the city by way of house-tax and other avenues. At present, MCG has little role to play and virtually no powers except in the old city. Planning, development and control should vest in the hands of MCG, particularly the elected councillors.

Nexus between builders and government

The nexus between builders and the government is the bane of Gurgaon, as it is not in the rest of the country. Builder-friendly laws are made to the detriment of the citizens and the city. Hardly any open areas are left for various activities, and commercialization and profiteering are their only mantras.

Decentralization of power in Millennium City

All the powers vest with the Chief Minister and the cabinet. The Deputy Commissioner, HUDA Administrator and Town and Country planning department have no powers. For every little work, citizens and their representatives have to run to Chandigarh. Power should devolve to the elected representatives of the people i.e. the municipal councillors, and there should be decentralization of decision-making. 

Youth of Gurgaon

There are hardly any activities for the youth in terms of sports and cultural events. The youth feel a disconnect with the political and administrative set-up. They should be brought into the mainstream, and made to feel part of the system. Only then will they take an interest in the development of Gurgaon.

CJ: Ranbir Singh Rathee is President, Gurgaon Citizens’ Council. He is a Civil Engineer and has vast experience in development and maintenance of civic amenities, and has also worked for 15 years for DLF Limited. Over the last few years he has worked in bringing together different RWAs in Gurgaon and helped evolve Mission Gurgaon Development.

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