"Gurugram is an example of the political and the builder mafia colluding and developing a city with the worst infrastructure.”
How can two hours of rainfall submerge Gurugram? What lies behind these floods? The inundated under-passes? The traffic jams? The mess?
The problem lies in how Gurugram was built, experts tell The Quint.
"In Gurugram, basic infrastructure was never built. Private builders sold plots without building good drains or water supply," Depinder Kapur, an urban planning expert tells us.
The Quint speaks with Depinder Kapur, Programme Director, Urban Water-Waste Management, Centre for Science and Environment, about urban planning of cities within the NCR, what are the factors that have been contributing to the flooding in Gururam and what similarities does Gurugram have with Bengaluru.
Satellite cities such as Gurugram and Noida were built to divert population from Delhi and ensure planned cities. Now even when it rains for a few hours parts of Gurugram are submerged. What went wrong?
In Noida, the Noida Authority was instructed with developing the basic infrastructure including roads and water supply and electricity, and drainage.
Whereas, Gurugram was entirely parcelled out to private developers to build everything, including basic infrastructure.
All the land was handed over to private developers. Of course, they were expected to follow certain norms of development, such as the percentage of roads and public infrastructure, but they never did that. Their priority was selling land.
The builders got away with selling plots of land without building the basic infrastructure, such as roads, drains and water supply.
Gurgaon is a city that has built the houses, but has left all the infrastructure for the people to develop, including the roads and the drainage system.
Is it a problem with how the cities are planned? And who plans them?
Urban planning requires a multi-dimensional approach. And it is not the fault of urban planners. We are very conscious that urban planning is being maligned today.
What has happened is that the builder, big capital and political mafia have come together.
Gurgram is an excellent example of the political and the builder mafia coming together and, developing a city which is one of the worst in terms of infrastructure.
An urban planning document is a legislative legal entitlement of the residents of the city to housing, to roads, to infrastructure and to water sanitation.
Unfortunately, urban planning has been reduced to thesis writing, without assessing what the current situation on the ground is or what needs to be done.
So does the problem lie in implementation?
All master plans are supposed to be detailed factual assessment of the situation on the ground and what is required in the next 20 years. That factual assessment, which was supposed to be done by NIU, the National Institute of Urban Affairs, has not been done even for Delhi.
The Delhi Master Plan 2041 one has been prepared without marking out the housing status, how many houses need to be built, what kind of water infrastructure and wastewater infrastructure needs to be built.
The water and waste water sections of the Delhi Master Plan 2041 do not even summarise in numbers, what is given as annexure from Delhi Jal Board.
The demand of 1500MGD water supply by 2041 is supposed to be met significantly by reducing the per capita supply of water, to meet the increased population. And by securing more water from Renuka Dam.
Unless a percentage of treated waste water is made to the drinking water standards by 2041, this increased demand will be difficult to meet. There is no commitment in the Delhi Master Plan for this.
Is this the nature of this problem same as Bengaluru?
The problem is that our cities have grown in terms of area substantially, Delhi, Gurugram or Bengaluru.
Bengaluru has grown from 100 square kilometers to 800 square kilometers. So, even the drainage system which was planned for Bengaluru has not been able to cope with the surface flow of rainfall episodes.
But in Gurgram the primary problem is that not even basic drainage has been built, unlike Bengaluru.
In Bengaluru, they have a drainage system which is inadequate for the kind of flows and rainfall intensity which is happening now. In Gurgram, the drainage system is not there at all. So, even mild rainfall causes flooding.
Can this problem be fixed?
It can be fixed to a certain extent.
You can build drainage, but you will also have to see what kind of flows will happen there or whether you have built too many of these flyovers and concrete highways, how will they interact with the drainage flows. That has to be assessed, which is more than just building drains around along the road.
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