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Gurugram’s urban development journey towards millennium city

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Gurugram urban development

For Gurugram, the urban development came along with the rapid industrial growth which gradually made way to infrastructure, roadways, transport development to name a few. Today, Gurugram is home to more than 250 Fortune 500 companies and one of the major financial and industrial hubs of India, vis-à-vis the world. Sreetama Datta Roy and Ritika Srivastava of Elets News Network (ENN) explore the the urban development transformation of Gurugram.

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Gurugram, formerly and popularly known as Gurgaon, is one of the prime examples of rapid urban development. From being first mentioned in the epic Mahabharata as the ancestral village of Guru Dronacharya, the mentor of Kauravas and Pandavas, to today’s Millennium City, the transformation of Gurugram has been a subject of numerous case studies.

Urbanisation is such a concept, which cannot take place in silos. It has to have industrial or economic development alongside to reach the stage of urban growth. For Gurugram, the urban development came along with the rapid industrial growth, which gradually made way to infrastructure, roadways, transport development to name a few.

During the early years of liberalisation, the advent of industries in the city located in the Delhi-Haryana border can be considered as the first step towards urban development. Moreover, the proximity to the national capital and the acres of lands acted as major reasons for marking their presence in Gurugram. Additional factors were the conducive licensing procedure and quick connectivity across the world owing to the fact that Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport being 15 km away from Gurugram.

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The state’s policies also made it convenient for the industries across sectors like Manufacturing, IT and Infrastructure to make their marks in Gurugram and other parts of Haryana. The Haryana Urban Development Act of 1977 empowered the state agencies to acquire agricultural land for developing residential townships and industrial estates, and to contract out development to the private sector.

“Despite experiencing the various facets of urbanisation, Gurugram is affected by various challenges, which might affect further growth of the city. Faulty drainage system causing water logging even at minimal rain, traffic congestion, issues of sewerage or garbage and last but not the least, the poor air quality”.

Under the Haryana Development and Regulation of Urban Areas (HDRUA) Act of 1975-76, licenses were awarded to private developers to acquire, assemble and develop a minimum hundred acres of contiguous land.

By the mid-1990s, Gurugram developed as a major industrial and IT hub, which further made way to for industrial, residential and urban transformation. Owing to these developments, the district cum city of Gurugram saw the migration of population across India. This factor also led to a rapid surge in the population. As per the Census Report of India, 2011, the population of Gurugram district increased by almost 74 percent between 2010 and 2011. With the increase in urban population, the formal urban limits expanded by almost six times.

Industrial and Real Estate Growth Charter of Gurugram

Industrialisation of Gurugram commenced with the establishment of the Maruti-Suzuki automobile plant and its ancillary factories in 1982. Later, several other factories from various sectors also started emerging across Gurugram.

Real estate majors such as DLF Group, Unitech and Ansal Properties received licenses from the Haryana government to build private sector residential townships. This led to a major real estate boom in the city and Gurugram’s land market also benefited.

Boom in the IT sector in Gurugram

In 1997, General Electronics (GE) started its call centre facility and Genpact India’s headquarter was also built in Gurugram. Several other Indian, as well as international companies followed suit in opening up their offices in this rapidly rising urban space.

This era saw a splurge in the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), Knowledge Process Outsourcing (KPO) and other Multinational Companies (MNCs). These IT MNCs include companies like American Express, EXL, IBM, Microsoft, Infosys, Ericsson, Oracle etc.

Apart from IT companies, Gurugram also hosts international industry majors such as Siemens, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, BMW, Hyundai, Honda etc. Today, Gurugram is home to more than 250 Fortune 500 companies and one of the major financial and industrial hubs of India, vis-à-vis the world.

Infrastructure

To accommodate the growing population due to the establishment of industries, the city underwent a massive infrastructural transformation as well. Majority of the developmental works were taken up by the private real estate developers. DLF Cyber City, Cyber Green Building, Essel Towers, etc. are few among the major infrastructure hubs of the Cyber City.

Roadways and Transport

There have been several initiatives taken to develop the roadways and transport infrastructure of the Millennium City. The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has recently launched a 45-kilometer project, connecting Pataudi and Rewari.

The National Highway 48 links Gurugram with Delhi. The 27.7 kilometer Delhi-Gurgaon border-Kherki Dhaula stretch has been developed as an expressway.

Metro Connectivity

Gurugram is connected with Delhi Metro as well as the city’s Rapid Metro networks. The Yellow Line of the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) serves as a convenient route to travel from Delhi and Gurugram.

Built and operated by Rapid Metro Gurgaon Limited (RMGL), the system was the world’s first fully privately financed modern metro system. The Rapid Metro became operational from 2013. The metro line is connected with the DMRC’s Yellow Line. Rapid Metro has a total length of 11.7-kilometres serving 11 stations.

To sum it up, Amit Khatri, Commissioner, Municipal Corporation of Gurugram said, “Over a couple of decades, a lot of development has gone around in Gurugram. Be it road connectivity, metro rail, industrial infrastructure, power connectivity, transport, and the service delivery through common serviced centres. However, a lot more has to be done and there is a long way ahead.”

Challenges marring the Millennium City’s Urban Development

Despite experiencing the various facets of urbanisation, Gurugram is affected by various challenges, which might affect further growth of the city. Faulty drainage system causing water logging even at minimal rain, traffic congestion, issues of sewerage or garbage and last but not the least, the poor air quality. To curb these challenges, the urban development authorities such as Municipal Corporation of Gurugram (MCG), Gurugram Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA), etc. are taking measures to not only mitigate these challenges but to also create an innovative yet sustainable and resilient ecosystem.

In the words of Sudhir Singh Chauhan, Senior Town Planner, Municipal Corporation of Gurugram, “Gurugram is a Millennium City, a city of hope. It is the IT city in the whole Delhi-NCR region. Gurugram is not a city of Haryana only, it is a global city. Being an international city, Gurugram is expanding fast due to which some key aspects are lagging. We are chasing those aspects and trying to bridge the gap soon. Many agencies including GMD and Municipal Corporation are working to address the problems and soon the city will be worth living as one of the Smart Cities.”

Some such initiatives are listed below.

Innovative Initiatives towards a Smart and Sustainable Millennium City

Sewage Treatment Plants and other Pollution Control Measures: As many as 40 micro Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) have been installed across the city to treat sewage water at the local level which will then be used to irrigate green belts and parks of the city. It also enhances the green cover of the city and moisture content in the air to help reduce air pollution. According to MCG, water is sprinkled through vehicles on these green belts and parks to keep a check on air pollution.

Waste Management: The civic body does a door-to-door collection of waste and the plan is to compost at least 50 percent of the municipal waste collected in a particular ward. The city is divided into 35 wards, and in each ward, dry and wet wastes are segregated before recycling. To manage hazardous waste, corporation agencies have tied up with all the hospitals in the city. After collecting the hazardous waste, those are sent for treatment to authorised vendors.

“The administration of Gurugram has taken multiple initiatives to deliver services online to the citizens. Last year onwards, Property tax payment has been made online by MCG. Citizens can also register complaints or grievances”.

Water Management: To manage the rising water crisis, the government has launched a flagship initiative, GuruJal. It is an Integrated Water Management System to generate innovative methods to mitigate the water crisis and also create awareness among citizens on the looming crisis and ways to conserve water.

Smart Lighting System: All the streetlights in the city have been converted to LED lights. Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), which is a Government of India company formed under the aegis of the Ministry of Power, has undertaken the infrastructure development related work for streetlights, which are further connected to the smart grid of Gurugram.

Smart Parking System: The MCG is creating three multilevel parking, especially in congested areas. The parking system will also be enabled with ICT system to create a smart and seamless parking system for the citizens.

Water ATMs: According to the former Commissioner of MCG, Yashpal Yadav, the civic body has installed a large number of water ATMs in the city and plans are underway to install 43 more by end of this year.

Creating ICT systems for ensuring better service delivery to citizens: The administration of Gurugram has taken multiple initiatives to deliver services online to the citizens. Last year onwards, Property tax payment has been made online by MCG. Citizens can also register complaints or grievances. According to the MCG officials, the whole corporation has gone paperless from March 31 this year. “We are using e-office and we have stopped any physical paper movement. This is what we have achieved in the last one-and-a-half year. This will make life easier for officers, who can now work from anywhere,” added Yadav.

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