Residents start indefinite hunger strike for Dwarka expressway completion | gurgaon

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After waiting for years for the completion of the Dwarka Expressway, officially called the Northern Peripheral Road, residents of sectors 81-115 intensified their protest against the Central and state governments of Haryana and Delhi by starting an indefinite hunger strike on Thursday.

The strike is being carried under the aegis of Dwarka Expressway Welfare Association (DXP), which has been fighting for the completion of this project since 2016.

Five volunteers—Lokesh Yadav, Bajrang Jain, Yashesh Yadav, Amarish Mishra and Kanchan Jain—sat on an indefinite hunger strike near the Kherki Daula toll in the presence of about 100 other residents. The strike began around 3.30pm on Thursday. Volunteers were garlanded and thanked for taking this tough decision on behalf of the area’s residents.

Residents have mainly demanded that work on packages 1 and 2, that are stuck with the Delhi government since December 2017, should start at the earliest. They also want the Gurugram Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA) to transfer 500 metres of land on the Central Peripheral Road—needed for construction of a clover leaf junction near Kherki Daula.

“We have been forced to go on an indefinite hunger strike after several failed assurances from ministers and government officials. Over one lakh people have bought apartments along this road because it offered better connectivity between this city and Delhi, but it is stuck,” DXP president Yashesh Yadav said, adding that the protest is likely to gain momentum over the weekend when they plan to do a ‘mahayagya’ and they are prepared for the hunger strike to stretch on.

The DXP has been fighting for the completion of Dwarka Expressway since 2016 and it has used social media actively to bring together project stakeholders and shifting of the Kherki Daula toll plaza. Though they have launched protests before, this is the first time that any resident has gone on an indefinite hunger strike.

“We are not going to end the strike till our demands are met. We have met ministers in the Centre and state governments, but nothing has happened,” DXP joint secretary Prakhar Sahay said listing that they have met Haryana PWD minister Rao Narbir Singh, Gurugram MP and Union minister Rao Inderjit Singh, Union transport minister Nitin Gadkari, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, Delhi transport minister Satyendra Jain and several top officials in NHAI, HUDA, and forest department.

Residents said they were promised streetlights on the expressway, completion of the master sector roads, start of work in 2016, transplantation of trees for starting work on packages 1 and 2. However, little has happened since then, association members said, adding that this apathy and inaction forced them take this extreme step.

Residents also demanded want the state government to come true on its promise of shifting the Kherki Daula toll plaza by March 31.

Former chairman of Gurugram and Mewat Zila Parishad Rao Abhay Singh said the toll plaza company had earned revenue much beyond its investment and it should be made to go. “We support the hunger strike and all villagers and panchayat members will contribute to this fight,” he said.

Residents of Kherki Daula, who also backed the strike, said the government should clear the 30-metre stretch along the village so “vehicles don’t pass through our streets”. “All land owners have been given plots so why is the HSVP not taking possession,” said Dileep Yadav, who also plans to join the protest if the government doesn’t heed their demands.

The Dwarka Expressway project was conceived in 2006 as an 18-km bypass to the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway. It was later made a 29-km road connecting Kherki Daula with Shiv Murti at Mahipalpur to offer high-speed connectivity to commercial vehicles that form a large chunk of the traffic forced to cut through the Delhi city to access other states.

The project, which was originally expected to be completed by 2014, is also the lifeline for sectors from 81 to 115, which have over 175 residential group housing societies and over 50 commercial projects. It is estimated that the developers have sold around 1.35 lakh apartments on this road.

However, the road project has missed several deadlines due to legal issues over land acquisition and payment of compensation to plot owners. It was in 2014, that a settlement was arrived at between land owners and the HSVP, but it could only be implemented in 2018 and that too for package 3 and 4 in Gururgam. The first two packages in Delhi are still stuck for want of permissions from Delhi government.

First Published: Jan 11, 2019 12:55 IST

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