Flooded Gurgaon, You Have a Complaint? Good Luck

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New Delhi:  It was a sunny day in and around Delhi this morning, but the roads in Gurgaon were still soggy marshes after the wettest July for the region in five years.

It took fortitude and fortune to navigate the route to Sector 34 of Gurgaon, the municipal commission is located.

Angry and troubled residents of India's "Millenium City", home to offices of some of the biggest companies in the world, seethed in line to see the civic body boss.

Vikas Gupta, Municipal Commissioner, was ensconced with colleagues in a conference room where a steady trickle of snacks were delivered as we waited. Plates full of samosas, sandwiches, kebabs and cold drinks kept floating inside the conference room. For four hours, Mr Gupta was unable to make the time to meet the nearly two dozen residents who wanted his assistance.

"The foundation of our building is being affected as the water constantly floods our basement" said Sharmila Kaushik, who lives in an apartment building. She pointed out the difficulty of taking time off on a Monday from work to voice her complaint in person.

She could consider herself lucky. Another group of men and women from DLF Phase 3 said they had been waiting for more than four months to get an audience with Mr Gupta. "The road outside the school has been dug up for over six months," said Rahul Singh. "Now with the monsoon, getting the kids in and out is a challenging and dangerous task, but every time we come here the guards tell us the Commissioner is busy in meetings."

When asked about what Mr Gupta had prioritized today over meeting with residents a city that was flooded over the weekend, we were told he was discussing plans for Gurgaon to be turned into a Smart City by 2022 with 24X7 power, drinking water on tap, world-class public transport, and quality communications and infrastructure.

Outside, roads lay dissolved into pools of rubble, and cars did some bumping and grinding in potholes the size of craters.

When Mr Gupta finally emerged, he offered just this reassurance to the people waiting - "We are bound by the law, we are doing everything in our capacity." Then he disappeared to yet another meeting.


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