Environment is no longer just chic. For the denizens of Gurgaon, it’s now a way of life. The administration’s failure on the civic amenities front has compelled the inhabitants of posh residential areas on the outskirts of Delhi to develop their own infrastructure and, what’s more, adopt various modes of sustainable living. Many resident welfare associations here are experimenting with recycling of water, rainwater harvesting, solar panels, recycling of waste, etc. But that’s part of a larger endeavour. Their main battle is in the sphere of civic rights. The Society for Urban Regulation Gurgaon and Environs (SURGE) has filed a PIL in Punjab and Haryana High Court, Chandigarh, against the state of Haryana, seeking a detailed report on the money (Rs 600-1,200 crore) collected by it as external development charges for Gurgaon.
The prime concern of SURGE, led by former foreign secretary J.N. Dixit, is to ensure sufficient political clarity at the level of Gurgaon’s urban development policy. Indeed, a master plan was drawn up for the city of Gurgaon, developing rapidly, as part of the National Capital Region in 1991. According to this plan, Gurgaon was to be converted into a model urban development centre seeking the participation of both the government (DTCP/HUDA) and private developers. Almost a decade later many aspects of the master plan have not been fulfilled because of lack of trained manpower, political will or simply lethargy.
But now that the Gurgaonvasis are finally awake, political listlessness may just become a thing of the past.