India’s road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkarihas a grand plan to decongest Gurugram with a series of projects worth close to Rs 10,000 crore, among them building bypasses and introducing an ambitious pod taxi plan, which would be the country’s first. To ensure there’s no repeat of the massive traffic jam and waterlogging that plagued Gurugram in the last week of July, Gadkari says the National Highways Authority of India will work on a comprehensive drainage system.
We have prepared a massive plan to decongest Gurugram. If we put together all our projects in Gurugram, we would be spending close to Rs 10,000 crore to decongest the Millennium City. We have an all-new national highway called Dwarka Expressway that is an alternative to the Delhi-Gurugram expressway. The highways authority has started acquiring land in Delhi from private owners for the same. Land for the Gurugram side of the expressway has already been acquired. Apart from the road, the NHAI will also build roadside amenities and border posts for which, too, the land is needed.
There’s also a plan to build India’s first pod taxi system…
It’s one of our most ambitious and innovative plans. It would completely transform the way we see urban transportation. Gurugram will be the first city to have it and I think the city needs it the most. If the pilot run is successful, we’ll take permission from the Haryana government and would extend it within Gurugram, connecting it with points like Cyber City. It would solve the lastmile connectivity problem. I’ll lay the foundation stone for the project soon. We have already invited bids for setting up the pod taxi project on a design, build, finance, operate and transfer basis. The metrino, as it’s called, would be small, battery-operated, driverless vehicles running on elevated tracks. It would have a passenger-carrying capacity of 4-6 persons with a maximum speed of 40 km per hour. The construction cost for it would be Rs 50 crore per km as compared to Rs 200 crore per km of metro. It will start from the Delhi-Gurugram border on the expressway and extend till Badshahpur on Sohna Road via Rajiv Chowk. The construction cost of the project is Rs 835 crore in phase one. In phase two, it will go till Manesar and the total project cost would be Rs 4,000 crore.
The monsoon rains caused heavy traffic jams on National Highway 8 and waterlogging in Gurugram, which was no less than a flood situation. How would you ensure that there’s no repeat of such a situation, at least on the national highway?
Gurugram is one of the most prestigious cities of the country with so many companies having their base in the city and such vibrant population from across the country and world. It’s an expat city as well, with so many heads of Indian subsidiaries of foreign companies living there. In such a town, we cannot afford to have traffic jams and waterlogging as we have seen in recent past. It could dent our international image… To make permanent arrangements to prevent the repeat of such a situation, the NHAI along with the Haryana government will construct the Badshahpur drain along with several outfall drains. Once these outfall drains are constructed, the issue of waterlogging would never recur. I have already asked NHAI to make necessary arrangements so that there’s no work left on our part.