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22-28 August 2014

Vol. 4 No. 1  Pages 24  ` 10

{ Atul Sobti }

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e are happy to state that over the past 3 years (156+ weeks) we have not missed a single deadline – or an Issue. The newspaper, as planned - exclusively of, for and by the citizens of Gurgaon - has been produced and printed on time…week after week. Gurgaon did deserve its own Paper. We have covered Gurgaon 360, and in full colour. It is a family paper, with a special corner for Kids, and a special Global section. Despite being a weekly, you do not miss any Gurgaon news, as we provide a ‘Week That Was’ summary also. We are proud to have carried many stories before even the top dailies, and provided a wider and deeper coverage. Our focus has been on remaining credible and relevant, adding value and urging action. We have specially acknowledged and promoted good people and good deeds. The contributors have grown every month, as more people have read the Paper. We believe that over a lakh readers have been exposed to Friday Gurgaon. Yes, we have had challenges – in

RNI No. HARENG/2011/39319, Postal Regn. No. GRG/35/2012-2014

Three Cheers! circulation and advertising, and our online social presence has not been tops. A comment on Gurgaon: while the implementation of a real estate led 2031 ‘Master Plan’ is under way for the City, we continue to be challenged by the lack of basic civic services (of water, electricity and sewage). Will water be our Waterloo? Will we finally drown in our own muck? In fact, if the basics of water and power are not taken care of soon, we may see violent street protests next summer. Unfortunately, the Administration remains indifferent and insensitive, burdened itself by a slow approval process and poor authority limits. The frustration

in this City is more because the deficiency in civic services and facilities is not due to any lack of funds, like for most places in India (in fact MCG has loaned Rs 150 crores to Faridabad - and it seems to be not coming back). But let’s cheer up a bit – we have

the new Cyber Hub for fresh entertainment. Maybe it is also time to prepare for Gullywood or Gollywood, in Gurgaon – given the multitude of local ‘stars’. As we enter our fourth year, it is important that we make Friday Gurgaon a more sustainable project. It is time to move our governance, ownership and operations to a broader platform. Friday Gurgaon was never meant to be a business, let alone a family legacy. A local Paper must be the asset of the City….of its citizens. It needed nurturing at birth and the tender early years – for remaining relevant and credible, and for maintaining quality. And we put our money where our mouth was, rather than relying on outside funding.

Time to get our act together { Abhishek Behl / FG }

write to us at letters@fridaygurgaon

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isorganised, ugly and maddening - that is how the future of Gurgaon is being described by a large number of residents who are closely working on various issues that challenge the City today. Unless there is a major course correction, the prognosis for Gurgaon is dark, and the Millennium city could face major challenges due to an ever-expanding population that is putting extreme pressure on a limited infrastructure. For many, Gurgaon is already running in crisis mode, particularly as far as water, power and basic infrastructure issues are concerned. And unless the focus shifts from only a real estate driven ‘plan’ to a more holistic approach that is people and society oriented, the future looks bleak, avers a large majority. The Millennium City no doubt is a magnet for economic growth, jobs and quality real estate, both for the residential and corporate sector, but this development story needs to become inclusive – of the 70 per cent lower middle class and migrant population. Bhawani Shanker Tripathy, an activist and founder member of Mission Gurgaon Development, opines that there are two extremes in Gurgaon - on one side are the ‘posh’ builder colonies, and the other extreme is the growing number of unauthorised colonies. “There is no planned agenda for the City, no cohesive vision, and neither any

review of its ‘carrying capacity’. There is no plan on how to accommodate the ongoing influx of migrants, who are attracted by the economic opportunities,” says Tripathy. Another important issue is that governance and politics in Gurgaon are dictated by money power and votes. Till this does not change, it is unlikely that we would see any improvement in the Millennium City, opines Tripathy. A most pressing civic concern is the water and ecological crisis, which many experts say is going to threaten the very existence of the City. Vivek Kamboj of Hariyali, a City-based NGO that has filed a case in the National Green Tribunal (NGT), says that he has submitted to the court that this City will turn into a dark zone as far as availability of ground water is concerned. “I am a hundred percent sure that ground water will become extinct in Gurgaon by 2017, and unless the government takes immediate measures, the problem could seriously threaten this City”, asserts Kamboj. He adds that the policy of the Haryana government, to treat the green belts as expendable, for say widening the roads, is also deplorable, and will be challenged soon in court. It is because of these shortsighted policies that the City is now staring at a self-made crisis of a diminishing green cover; and this will soon be irreversible, given the pace at which the real estate industry is taking over the forests and farm lands. Kamboj says that the situation could become more alarming once the forest Contd on p 7 

Now, at the end of 3 years, we feel confident in moving wider and deeper, and making Friday Gurgaon an active instrument for facilitating the change that is needed in this City. To calibrate our way forward, this weekend we are conducting a Seminar, with many concerned citizens, social organisations and corporates, which will focus on how we all can together make Gurgaon a better place to live in, and how to harness its potential. Individually, NGOs, Activists, RWA Heads, Civil Society and Corporates are taking some good actions and initiatives in diverse areas. We would now work together on a few agreed areas, to ensure a wider, deeper and more lasting impact. Friday Gurgaon can be a strong and credible facilitator and catalyst between various civil society organisations, corporates and the Administration. We believe that it’s time for like and rightminded citizens and entities of Gurgaon to come together for the betterment of the City. The opportunities this City has to offer, and the promise it holds, make this worth the effort.u

Hai Ye Gurgaon Meri Jaan   In a 140-page chargesheet filed with the State Governor, INLD has asked for a probe into the CM’s wealth. They have alleged scams worth almost Rs 10 lakh crores during the last decade.

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In election mode:   State clears a higher FAR (300 versus 175 today) for residential colonies within a 500m radius of Metro corridors in NCR.n  CM raises the age of retirement of State Govt employees to 60 (from 58).n  State announces a ‘package’ of remissions for convicts. n

Dr. Praveen Kumar, who till recently was the MCG Commissioner (and earlier HUDA Administrator), comments: “FG makes very good reading. It covers a wide variety of subjects and its coverage of the Gurgaon area is realistic, and it is definitely unbiased in its reports. I have been interviewed many times by FG, both in my capacity as Commissioner and Administrator, and I must say that the tabloid has always faithfully represented my views unlike other newspapers and periodicals where my views have often been found to be distorted.”

Friday gurgaon 22 28 aug, 2014  

..be the change you want to see

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