So, Gurgaon has become Gurugram and why not, the city has its own mythological importance and an effort to connect with that is nothing new. Many cities in last two decades or so have changed their names. Bombay became Mumbai, Madras became Chennai, Bangalore is now Bengaluru and Calcutta is now Kolkata. Unfortunately, rechristening these cities could not solve the basic problems they struggled since ages. Mumbai still shivers when there is more than average rain happening in the city; Kolkata is yet to establish itself in terms of a world-class city. Who can forget the recent flood in Chennai which once again, ripped apart the modern day town planning systems!
Does changing names actually matter? No, unless the ground realities are given due attention and rectified on a regular basis. No doubt, Gurgaon had made its mark as the Millennium City of India with a majority of MNCs having their offices there. Its proximity to international airport always put it ahead of its peers like Noida and Faridabad. Still, the city has its own share of problems which defame it more often than not!
More than changing its name, Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) should look at solving some of the basic glitches Gurgaon owns since its inception. The five major problems the city has are:
- Sewerage: Gurgaon does not have a public sewage system. Though the city is mushrooming with self-acclaimed world class residential colonies, each one of them has to maintain its own private sewerage system. These private sewerage systems are primarily linked to tanks that are often dumped in rivers or bare land. This affects the overall ecology and environment. Instead, the city can do much better and construct its own sewage system thereby connecting all the residential colonies to it.
- Electricity: It is now an established fact that Gurgaon is one of the worst hit cities in terms of power-cuts. To cope with this, housing colonies produce their electricity privately; this adds to excessive pollution! Also, the residents need to cough out a hefty price to avail uninterrupted power supply. This is a complete wastage of energy. Instead, HUDA can provision installation of roof-top solar panels that can take care of energy requirements and can supply back to the grid, in the case of excessive production. Thankfully, the government is working on this model and has made it compulsory for private housing colonies to follow this.
- Water Supply: Water, like sewerage and electricity, does not cost much, but when it is produced on a small scale, the average cost per person is higher. Unfortunately, ground water in Gurgaon is scarce. Many illegal bore wells have further dented the natural availability of water. Housing colonies have to depend on water tankers. Instead, HUDA can strictly regulate the illegal bore wells and conserve wetland and natural water bodies. Rainwater harvesting is also another option that can really solve the crisis.
- Law & Order: Law and police in Gurgaon, like in much of India, do not function properly. Though, wealthy residents who can afford do afford private security personnel, general citizens are largely dependent upon the state-run mechanism which has, by far, failed in curbing crime. This is one of the major issues which have put some doubt amongst the MNCs. Home buyers too, consider this while finalizing a house in the city. Local authorities should take this matter very seriously and come up with a fool-proof solution to give some kind of confidence to its residents.
- Road Transport & Infrastructure: The traffic jam in Gurgaon is a daily routine; office goers need to fight with it every day in the morning as well as evening. The rapid urbanization has pulled thousands of migrants to this city. Roads and public transport system are not up to the mark to support this load. Hence, every day the city comes to a standstill and chocks with pollution. Though Rapid Metro has brought some respite, last mile connectivity is still an issue and dwellers need to deal with Autowalas who charge abruptly. Authority can establish a state-run last mile transpiration mechanism which will cover all the major hubs during prime times. In addition to this, roads can be broadened and repaired to support smooth traffic. Odd-Even formula is also an option that government should consider.
For the real estate market to flourish, more than the name it is the location and its infrastructural milestones than matter. Gurgaon has always enjoyed the location advantage; amidst Aravali, on route to major cities of West-Central India and adjacent to the international airport. However, it has failed drastically in terms of town planning and basic amenities. Gurgaon or Gurugram, the only thing that matter is how well the social system of the city works. Unfortunately, it was a distant dream for Gurgaon; it seems a distant dream for Gurugram as well!
— India Today (@IndiaToday) April 13, 2016