With broken roads and choked sewerage lines raising a stink, residents of Sector 16 in Vasundhara are wondering if Ghaziabad is indeed on the long list of cities for the Narednra Modi government’s smart city mission.
When Vasundhara was conceived two decades ago, planners had lofty goals in mind but, according to residents who are forced to endure the civic mess, that vision was abandoned somehwere along the way.
“The internal roads of this sector are flooded with sewage and waste water and it is impossible to walk on these stretches but still we have to for want of an option,” said K P Singh Gurjar, general secretary, Vasundhara Sector 16 RWA.
“The muck is flowing right into the houses of residents and all we could do is to plead with the civic agency but we are still waiting for action,” Gurjar said.
Sachin Bhardwaj, a businessman who owns a house in the area, took it upon himself and constructed an internal road. “When repeated efforts to seek help from the civic agency failed, I invested about Rs 1.5 lakh to construct a road right in front of my house,” Bhardwaj said.
“It was futile to wait for the agency’s help,” Bhardwaj said, adding that not all residents could afford to build a road.
The mismatch between the reality of Vasundhara, whose location is all set to gain immense importance with Delhi Metro’s Blue line inching towards Sector 62, and authorities looking the other way as the township stinks is growing by the day. With healthcare as one of the criteria for a smart city, the irony can’t be missed as Vasundhara Sector 16′s living conditions are triggering illnesses among its residents.
Jairani Yadav (60) is ill because of the chronic sewage problem for that. “Since I live on the ground floor, sewage water often finds its way right into my living room and that has made me sick,” Yadav said.
“We built a makeshift embankment to check the waste water flow but during the rainy season stagnant water breached the embankment,” she said.
Ram Kripal Saini, Yadav’s septuagenarian neighbour, said, “Accumulated waste water is posing a constant health risk to the residents and I am myself undergoing treatment for gastrointestinal infections.”
Open manholes are death traps. Joseph Thomas, a resident, said, “The covers of manholes are broken at many places in this sector but civic agencies have not bothered to replace them in all these months. They are virtual death traps for small children. If the unthinkable happens who will take the responsibility,” Thomas asked.
When contacted, Sanjay Gangwar, assistant engineer, UP Housing Board, passed the buck, saying, “The job of maintenance rests with the GMC but still we have been attending to complaints whenever we received them.”
Meanwhile, R K Yadav, executive engineer, GMC water works department, acknowledged being aware of the issues. “We have received a complaint of sewage water overflow from Sector 16 and other sectors as well, a problem which compounds during the rains,” he said.
Promising action, the GMC engineer said, “We have deployed sanitary inspectors to look into the complaints and we are proceeding sector-wise to fix the problems. I assure residents that the problems in Sector 16 would be sorted out shortly.”