September 20, 2014
Owners of commercial vehicles registered in Gurgaon have been exempted from paying toll at the Kherki Daula plaza on National Highway-8 from Monday.
The company managing the toll complex withdrew the notice it issued last month and decided to keep Gurgaon-registered vehicles out of its ambit after hundreds of residents from nearby villages protested at the toll complex and removed the boom barriers making the stretch toll free for close to two hours.
The protesters literally took over the toll plaza around noon. A compromise between the company and the villagers could be arrived at only after the local administration intervened.
The villagers have been at loggerheads with Millennium City Expressway Private Limited, the company managing the toll, over past one month after the company started collecting toll charges from commercial vehicles owned by the villagers, who were earlier exempted from it. Vehicle owners of around 40 villages were exempted from toll charges until last month.
The decision was opposed by the villagers and they had staged a similar protest on August 19 as well. In response, the toll company had filed a criminal complaint against some of the villagers. The residents have been pressurising the local administration to withdraw the notice. They even held a mahapanchayat over the issue on August 27 that was attended by residents of around 60 villages.
Villagers have been at loggerheads with the company managing the toll after it started collecting charges from them. They were earlier exempted from it
August 27, 2014
The Gurgaon Police on Monday added the traffic penalties feature to its Mobile App in a bid to increase public transparency. It is the third feature added to the App.
Speaking on the occasion, Police Commissioner Alok Mittal said it was aimed at helping the masses know about various traffic offences, fines associated with them and relevant sections of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. Mr. Mittal said offenders could now know the penalty for a violation within a few seconds with the help of this feature. This meant that police personnel could not fool or seek bribe from motorists. The aim is to empower the motorists, said Mr. Mittal.
“For example, if someone is caught not using a seat belt or wearing a helmet, one can now know the fine amount. If a cop is demanding a higher fine, the commuter cannot be fooled,” said Mr. Mittal.
The App was launched by the Gurgaon Police three months ago in a bid to bridge the gap between citizens and the police. Launched across major platforms like Android, iOS and Windows Phone, it is simple and many features do not need Internet access.
July 15, 2014
GURGAON: The city that pioneered the Raahgiri Day movement that has now been embraced by Delhi is getting a raw deal from the administration, which had promised to deliver dedicated cycling tracks for the event a couple of weeks ago but is yet to start work on the ground.Having exported the Raahgiri concept to other cities, like the Colombian city of Bogota had done with Ciclovia, Gurgaon now has a responsibility to convert it into a cycling-friendly city, a model that the rest of the country can follow.But the delay in making cycle tracks has left residents and Raahgiri participants feeling cheated. Expressing his disappointment, Karan Sachdeva, a resident of DLF Phase V who moved here from The Netherlands last year, said, “When I moved to the city, I used to miss cycling. Raahgiri brought some hope. I also bought a world-class bike, keeping in mind that initiative of Raahgiri will lead to the construction of a cycle track. But Gurgaon doesn’t seem likely to have viable infrastructure for cycling any time soon.”
Namrata, a regular participant in Raahgiri Day events every Sunday since it began in Gugraon last November, says she has bought a bicycle after 24 years. “Raahgiri Day has helped Gurgaonites come together and fight for a cause. However, authorities are not serious enough to make cycle tracks in the city.”
The private organizers of the event said they were helpless as they had done everything they could at their end. “We have sent a detailed plan to the Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon’s office. We have been trying hard to follow it up with the MCG to initiate the construction of cycle tracks. However, we have not got any response yet,” said Sarika Panda of EMBARQ.
MCG commissioner Praveen Kumar, who wasn’t present at the event this Sunday, told TOI, “We have received the design and cost plan from the organizers. We are almost done with the cost analysis. The design has also been finalized. I think construction will soon start.” Kumar also said some changes had been made in the design of the proposed cycle tracks. “Following the suggestion of commissioner of police, we have now decided to draw a white strip to bifurcate the cycle track and the main road,” he said.
October 15, 2013
Gurgaon, — Canon India president and CEO Kazutada Kobayashi Monday termed the regular traffic snarls on Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway a “cause of concern” and the poor infrastructure here a scar on millennium city’s developing face.
“Traffic problems on National Highway 8 (Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway), specially near toll plazas, are a cause of concern,” said Kobayashi, who has been living in Gurgaon for more than a decade since the company set up its Indian headquarters in the city in 1997.
“I was caught in long traffic jams at several occasions,” he said, adding he keeps a time margin when he heads for the airport to avoid missing his flights.
Noting that Gurgaon has rapidly emerged on the world map, Kobayashi said its dynamic growth and fast becoming a growing hub of MNCs deserves appreciation but its poor infrastructure and lack of maintained roads was the “dark side of the story”.
Speaking on Canon’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives, he said that enrolment of girl children in senior classes in Ferozepur Namak village in Mewat district, some 35 km from Gurgaon, increased by 45 percent from last year after Canon adopted the government school in the village.
The number of teachers at the school also increased from nine to 44.
Canon undertook the responsibility of developing the village infrastructure in November 2012 to provide seamless support to its inhabitants with core interventions in eye care, education and environment for a period of three years.
Other CSR projects undertaken by the company include adoption of three Rapid Metro stations for creating a green belt around them in Gurgaon and a photo exchange programme between Canon India and Canon China wherein kids in the adopted villages in both countries click pictures with Canon cameras and share them across boundaries with each other.
Canon India now plans to initiate its village adoption programm
October 11, 2013
JAIPUR: Bowing to public outcry on charging toll on under expansion highways, the Central government has slashed the toll rates on the Jaipur-Gurgaon stretch of National Highway 8. The stretch, known for traffic bottlenecks and pothole-riddled roads, could see a nearly 25% reduction in existing toll rates.
The decision which was taken during the recently held cabinet meeting on Tuesday is yet to be circulated. Union minister for road transport and highways Oscar Fernandes however hinted at a cut in toll rates.
Currently, commuters plying from Jaipur to Delhi pay Rs 55 at Shahpura and Rs 115 at a toll gate near Shajapur. Those travelling to and fro the same day are charged Rs 254.
The decision comes in the wake of protests from various sections of the society to suspend the toll collection on the stretch till the time the six-laning project is complete. A public interest litigation (PIL) has also been filed in the Supreme Court, which is pending before the court.
Supporting the public outburst over the deplorable condition of the road, governor Margaret Alva had shot a letter to the Union transport minister in early September. In her communication she justified the public demand to stop charging the toll until the road expansion project is complete. Later on the request of the governor, Fernandes had travelled by road from Delhi to Jaipur and taken stock of the situation.
Sources from the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) claimed that they have proposed to cap the rates at 75% of the present toll during the widening of the highway from four to six lanes. “We recommended that the toll be reduced by one-fourth in case there are any delays in completion of the project. Revised toll rates on Jaipur-Gurgaon highway will become clear only when we receive any instruction from the ministry,” said senior official of NHAI.
The widening work on the stretch was started in April 2009 and will finish, at the earliest, by March 2014. Appalling condition of the Jaipur-Gurgaon highway has become a major issue with the opposition cornering the government over it ahead of upcoming elections.
September 12, 2013
PRANAB SAIKIA , TNN
GURGAON: Several stretches of the greenbelt on MG Road, starting from the Delhi-Gurgaon border to IFFCO Chowk have been encroached upon by various roadside businesses, starting from chat-wallahs to stalls selling Chinese and other fast foods to vends selling liquor to makeshift stalls dealing with scrap metals.
“The greatest irony about MG Road is that while the restaurants pay all the taxes and rentals, these makeshift eateries operate without permission, that too, on illegal space. These stalls, especially the liquor vends, are a nuisance in the area,” said Karan Bedi, director, JMD Limited.
“The administration talks about safety and security on MG Road. But, how can there be any safety when liquor shops are running openly and there is no check on them? Even the other vendors on the greenbelt are a great threat to safety and security. Who will be responsible if some untoward incident takes place,” asked Manish Yadav, a social activist from DLF-II.
All the major malls in the city are located on MG Road. The encroachers have created such a mess in the area that people coming to Bristol Hotel and the Grand Mall face a lot of trouble. “I feel unsafe to do shopping on MG Road malls after dusk not because of the pubs located inside the mall but because of the machans of the liquor shops,” said Usha Khanna, a customer at one of the MG Road malls.
“MG Road turns into a ‘V’ near Bristol Hotel and the spot witnesses frequent traffic jams. Vendors sitting in the areas, with cars parked near their shops and establishments are a cause of concern for all,” said Deepak Verma, an office-bearer of Sushant Lok RWA.
HUDA Administrator Praveen Kumar said, “The problem has been pointed out by residents and customers. We are aware of the problems of the residents. A few months ago, we had removed all the encroachers from the stretch. Since the repair work on the road is going on, we are not taking any action right now. We will take action against the encroachers after the repair work is over.”
September 9, 2013
Sanjeev K Ahuja , Hindustan Times Gurgaon,
Motorists headed for the service road leading to Ambience Mall — a major Gurgaon landmark — have to literally risk their lives day in and day out while they attempt a right turn via the U-turn after emerging from the Sirhaul toll plaza on Delhi-Gurgaon expressway.
Even as speeding cars rush past these waiting vehicles — sometimes avoiding accidents just by a whisker — there is no solution to the issue in sight despite a high court intervention.
The U-turn is absolutely critical for people headed for Ambience Mall, Hotel Leela Kempinski or Lagoon Apartments.
Suggestions to construct an underpass here have gone unheard as this was not provisioned in the detailed project report made by the National Highways Authority of India.
“I had proposed to bear the cost of the subway for the welfare of commuters who has to take a right turn from this U-turn and risk their lives to get to the other side of the expressway through the service road. I had also suggested shifting the toll plaza away from Ambience Mall,” said Raj Gehlot, the promoter of Ambience Island.
In September last, the Punjab and Haryana High Court had directed the Gurgaon police not to allow vehicles coming from the Gurgaon side to take a right turn.
However, soon after, public outrage had forced the Haryana Urban Development Authority administrator to intervene and remove the barricades.
In case the U-turn is permanently blocked, the commuters will have to pay toll twice and take a detour of 3.5 kilometres to get to the service lanes.
September 9, 2013
Siddhartha Rai , Hindustan Times Gurgaon,
A goal without a plan is just a wish: the saying fits well in the case of Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway. The ambitious project, which was supposed to breach the barrier between the rural and the urban in Gurgaon, was doomed even before it took off, thanks to lack of planning and farsightedness.
The committee took a stern view of the planning “deficiencies” as “many critical items which should have been foreseen at the time of preparation of the detailed project report were omitted”.
These critical items of public interest were later covered under a changed scope of work order that amounted to nearly Rs. 150crore or 21% cost overruns. These neglected items included increasing the height of underpasses by two metres, construction of elevated stretches and additional underpasses, and pedestrian crossing facilities at appropriate places, among other things.
These items were the ones that became the kernel of a public movement in Gurgaon. Moreover, the parliamentary committee found the arguments extended by the ministry of road transport and highways as “nothing but lame excuses”.
“You cannot take any such report (CAG performance audit, 2008) as the final word. There is no inherent design or planning flaw with the expressway. Nobody could foresee the quantum of development in Gurgaon and thus could not anticipate this level of traffic. The main problem with the expressway is that of operation and efficiency. There can be many measures which can be taken by the concessionaire to correct things,” said RP Indoria, former director general (roads) and ex-special secretary, ministry of road transport and highways. Expressway concessionaire DGSCL, however, declined to comment on the issue.
The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) had tried to argue before the committee that these changes had to be made in the light of unanticipated exponential growth in the areas around the highway.
The parliamentary committee made short work of these “excuses”. It harked back to the original traffic survey conducted by engineering consultancy company RITES in 2000 and marked that the development in the area referred to by the NHAI was not an expectation-defying explosion — the actual traffic volume in 2009 had been less than that projected by RITES.
“This negates the claim of the government of sudden rapid development in the areas around the expressway,” the committee had observed, adding, “Lamentably, these deficiencies have cost the exchequer a whopping Rs. 146crore that had to be paid by the government.” The parliamentary committee finally observed that the NHAI had tried to “camouflage” the “serious deficiencies” in the project, its “lack of professional competence” and “defective system of assessment” in the name of changes at the insistence of the Delhi and Haryana governments.
September 9, 2013
Leena Dhankhar , Hindustan Times Gurgaon,
The Gurgaon traffic police have asked the concessionaire of the Delhi-Gurgaon expressway to ensure all the cameras installed at Sirhaul and Kherki Daula toll plazas work properly.
Currently, the CCTV cameras installed at the two toll plazas are not in order and unable to capture clear footage. The crime branch of Gurgaon police recently reported the matter to the traffic police.
The crime branch teams were unable to identify the vehicles, their number plates and the drivers crossing the toll. “The footage had poor alignment and the picture quality was bad,” said a police officer.
Bharti Arora, joint commissioner (traffic), told HT, “The crime teams were facing difficulties in identifying the vehicles in the footage. The car numbers and faces of drivers were not being captured properly and the offenders were taking advantage of this.”
The traffic police asked the Delhi-Gurgaon Super Connectivity Ltd (DGSCL) to put in order all the CCTV cameras at the earliest so that the culprits could be caught with the help of the footage.
The traffic police asked the firm to intimate the reason for the bad footage quality and the action taken by them in this regard within three days.
“In case of any mishap at the toll plaza, it would be very difficult to apprehend offenders,” said Arora.
September 9, 2013
Siddhartha Rai, Hindustan Times Gurgaon,
Business may take flight from Gurgaon owing to the regular traffic muddle at the toll plazas on the Delhi-Gurgaon expressway, despite the fact that Gurgaon is home to nearly 250 Fortune500 companies.
The toll plazas — Sirhaul and Kherki Daula — have become impediments to the expansion of commercial and industrial activities in Gurgaon as inordinate congestion have bred a negative sentiment among the business community.
“Because of the toll plazas we decided to shift ten of our plants to Bahadurgarh. Three months ago we had chosen Gurgaon to set up our new corporate office, but the management refused citing the traffic jams at the toll plazas, especially Sirhaul. They did not want executives to get stuck in jams for hours at end. So we shifted the office to Rohini,” said BS Dagar, general manager (HR), Relaxo Footwears Ltd.
Dagar informed that discussions with corporate honchos in his capacity as the chairman of the National HRD Forum revealed that the corporate world was fast losing its fascination with Gurgaon as the favoured destination for setting up industrial units or office spaces.
“Business heads from several companies have told me that they are not going to set up their units in Gurgaon because no one has time to withstand the long queues and traffic snags at the Sirhaul or the Kherki Daula toll plazas,” said Dagar.
Pankaj Tyagi, deputy general manager (operations) at MM Auto and a resident of Gurgaon, said, “My company has units in Manesar and Udyog Vihar and it is a painstaking job for us as well as the workers to commute across the plazas. I hardly have any time left for my kids and family as traffic bottlenecks at the toll plazas take up all my time. It leads to domestic issues, too.”
Similarly, there are not many takers for office spaces in the towering buildings of Manesar IT Park. The developers say almost 90% office space at the park is unoccupied, thanks to the traffic bottlenecks at Kherki Daula toll and Hero Honda Chowk.
Launched in 2006 under the campus development scheme at Sector 8 of Industrial Model Township (IMT), the park was promoted by Haryana State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation (HSIIDC) which allotted big-size plots (10 acres each) to private developers based on the Chinese walk-to-work model.
Real estate development major Shapoorji Pallonji has raised an info-city at the IT Park.
The firm, however, believes that the commutation woes along the Delhi-Gurgaon expressway put the prospective clients off.