Tuesday, April 21, 2015
Apr 21, 2015, 02.06AM IST TNN[ Praveen Jose ]
GURGAON: The Punjab and Haryana high court has ordered the state government to conduct a technical audit of Gurgaon's 200km road network to examine if it conforms to the Integrated Mobility Plan (IMP) of the district drawn up in 2010.
The high court had on its own appointed road safety expert Navdeep Asija in October 2014 to study public works under way in Gurgaon, and ordered the audit on the basis of the report he submitted this January.
One of the main objections Asija has raised in the report is about the new 16-lane high-speed road that is being built to connect HUDA sectors to the expressway. He says the new road -an upgrade of Golf Course Road and other roads that link with it - will trigger major traffic jams. The reason he gives is that it would take cars from an eight-lane road (the width of one carriageway on the new road) to a four-lane one (the width of a carriageway of the Delhi-Gurgaon expressway).
The report suggests that the court stay construction of the new 16-lane road as an interim measure to prevent irreparable damage to the city like the Delhi-Gurgaon expressway has.
Asija's report, in fact, suggests initiating criminal proceedings against the planners of the Delhi-Gurgaon expressway. It gives the example of about 300 deaths the expressway witnessed in 2014 alone to point to technical drawbacks in the design and concept of the 28km speedway. Asija cites the recent decision to build underpasses and flyovers on the expressway at an estimated cost of Rs 760 crore - information that the MCG gave the court in a separate affidavit - as a confirmation of the design flaws of the project.
"It seems that intentionally or unintentionally, at the time of construction in 2007-08, necessary infrastructure to ensure safety of pedestrians and cyclists was not built... This further investment of Rs 760 crore from public money within six years of the opening of this expressway is confirmation of the failure of the expressway project," his report notes.
The amicus curiae, after a scrutiny of Asija's report and affidavits filed in this regard by HUDA and MCG, told the court, "The court may order initiation of criminal proceedings against the officers concerned and authorities, including the concessionaire and National Highways Authority of India, for killing many innocent cyclists and pedestrians because of bad planning and execution of the project, apart from wasting public money at large."
When this correspondent contacted Asija on Monday, he said, "As per a report by the ministry of road transport and highways, the three intersections considered for improvement (IFFCO Chowk, Signature Tower and Rajiv Chowk) are the major accident black spots. In just one year, this expressway witnessed about 300 fatal deaths, mainly of pedestrians and cyclists. Most highways are planned to take on traffic for another 20 years, but this highway failed within six years of its operation."
"We have written to the chief engineer to engage an agency to carry out an audit of HUDA roads, including those that are proposed," the official said.
at 10:40 AM