By Neha Sethi, Nazia Jaffri and Kinley Tshering

The news of the variety of problems that plagues India’s millennium city, Gurgaon, has become almost a cliché now. But the problems still persist, and so does the complaints from various quarters.

Even as a horde of environmental issues like the depletion of ground water, increasing air pollution, lack of proper solid waste disposal and sewer system among others have done its rounds, 58 more sectors are being developed in addition to the already existing 57 sectors in Gurgaon according to the Master Plan 2021.

Several architects and urban planners have pointed that a lack of proper planning and implementation has led to the various issues plaguing Gurgaon. According to S.P Biswas, an assistant professor at Sushant School of Architecture in Gurgaon, who has conducted studies and researches on the development of Gurgaon city, the development area is eight times more than the actual area. “There is no proper infrastructure, solid waste disposal and sewer system. The natural and topographical terrain has been destroyed in piece meal,” he says.

In the early 1960s Gurgaon was considered unfit for development for want of ground water source and only a modest growth was proposed under Delhi Master Plan-1962. Predictably, after the Gurgaon boom, the water level has been reported to be declining.
According to figures compiled by the Centre for Science and Environment, the water level in the city was 42.95 m below ground level (bgl) that reached 50.67 bgl in 2006. In the intervening years, the water level has declined by 7.72 m.

Balwan Singh, a resident of Sukhinder village in Gurgaon, says that in the late 80s and early 90s the bore well had to be dug only till 50-60 ft but now it has crossed more than 500 ft below ground level.

But, officials at the Haryana Urban Development Authority deny that water table in Gurgaon has been depleting over the years. “As far as I know, the water has not gone down. It is a misconception spread by the media,” says a superintend engineer of HUDA on conditions of anonymity. “Gurgaon has a water supply of 40 million gallons a day (mgd) from the open canal system. The total under ground water demand is only 7-8 mgd, 10-15% of the total water requirement of the town.”

However, the ground situation tells another story.