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Eco Green Initiatives

Dec 2014: In a half-a-day workshop organised by prominent citizen group Gurgaon First, the issue of sustainable development of the city was brought to the fore. The workshop-cum-expo titled “Eco Green Initiatives: Sustainability Solutions for city home and offices was held at IRRAD, Building, Sector 44, Gurgaon and was attended by over 150 delegates comprising RWA heads, corporates, NGOs, architects, urban planners, city authorities’ officials and media. Several citizen bodies including Clean Gurgaon, Mission Gurgaon Development and JAFRA were also well-represented.

The highlight of the workshop was a high powered delegation in the Opening Session on “Sustainability as a Way Ahead”. The session was addressed by Mr P Raghavendra Rao, additional, chief secretary, Town and Country Planning, Department, Government of Haryana. DrSudhir Krishna, ex-secretary, Ministry of Urban development gave the macro scenario on sustainability. MrVikas Gupta, Commissioner, Municipal Commission of Gurgaon also spoke in the opening session. All the three officials agreed to the need of Gurgaon’s future development to be based on sustainable goals and priorities.

Dr Krishna talked about how Gurgaon could become a smart city in all dimensions. He talked about the need for a regional development framework. He also talked about smart water supply with metering and rational tariff, ban on use of underground water and no need for trunk lines for sewerage< besides he talked about the zero waste concept and that there should be no need for garbage should not be transported from one place to another. He talked that cities should be designed in such a way that people could walk to work, safely and quickly and enhancement of public transport. He also talked about sending zero waste to the landfill.

Mr Rao informed that Gurgaon will have a population of 42 lakhs by 2031. He also informed that a revised land use plan for the city -2031 was in the offing. He talked about the need for waste segregation, creating cycle tracks and designing city so that the travel time between office and homes is reduced. He said that the authorities are trying to find solution for northern peripheral and southern peripheral roads. He talked about solutions where sewer water could be treated and used for horticulture. He talked about the need for Gurgaon to be a zero waste city as well as the urgent need to find a solution for Bandwari. He said that illegal tapping of water should reduced immediately and green cover should not be exploited. “The aravalli belt could be declared as a ecosensitive zone just like Sultanpur National Park,” he said.” We are super optimistic and together we will make Gurgaon a super smart city,” he said

Mr. Vikas Gupta talked about how each individual citizen can make a difference by conserving energy and water. He also talked about extra incentives to promote green buildings and revised building by-laws that will be out within a months’ time.  He said that the confusion of multiplicity of agencies such as HUDA and MCG in different civic functions will be removed and there will be single window accountable for each civic function.

Lack of sustainability measures is now beginning to pose a threat to the quality of life of citizens of Gurgaon with serious health and environment implications. The water tables are falling and the ambient air quality is deteriorating rapidly as vehiclular pollution is on the rise. Bandwari waste management plant in the outskirts of the city has remained dysfunctional for over a year, and thousand of tones of untreated garbage lying in the plant site is causing air pollution and possibly poisoning the ground water below. Besides, little has been done by way of water recharging or rainwater harvesting, reducing waste that goes to the landfill by waste segregation and treatment, by encouraging solar and energy efficiency, promoting green buildings, creating reliable public transport and improving pedestrian and cycle infrastructure.

“As we conduct this workshop, we urge authorities to conduct a comprehensive sustainability assessment of the city and as an outcome of the report set immediate sustainability goals for the next five years for the city,” says Shubhra Puri, Founder Gurgaon First.