Sunday, October 21, 2007

Economic Growth is an 8-Lane Expressway

Long time back – in the mid ‘80s – I used to live in Delhi. Maruti factory had just come up in Gurgaon – DLF was still developing in a nascent stage - , and sometimes, I had to go there for some professional assignments. It used to take almost 3-4 hours then… A few months back, while visiting the NCR, I had a chance to ply on this yet to be completed expressway, and the experience was akin to a change in paradigm!

The 28km long New Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway is both a symbol – and a metaphor – of India’s unfolding economic prowess and growth.

The Symbol:

  • Built on an estimated cost of Rs.750 crores (and Rs.200 crores cost over-run, due to R&R issues), this expressway connects the Indian Capital to the satellite industrial township, Gurgaon.

  • It is also a part of India’s Golden Quadrangle project – a 5,846km of 4- to 6-lane expressways connecting Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai. Once completes, this highway will connect this northern business hub with the western ports, as well bring the newly developed Delhi townships like Dwarka into the loop.

  • The Delhi-Gurgaon region has the highest density of vehicles in India, carrying 150,000 automobiles every day – and given that about 1000 automobiles get registered in Delhi everyday, this is likely to increase by over 7% per annum.

  • Once fully commissioned, this expressway will have 11 flyovers; the expressway has more than 22km of 8-lane road, and the rest is 6-lane road.

  • It will only allow vehicles capable of 80km/hr to 100km/hr speeds (local and slow moving traffic will have to use lanes running under the elevated sections); and it will reduce the travel time on the stretch from more than an hour to just 15 minutes.

    The Metaphor:
  • If you happens to be one without a car, this artifact of economic growth is likely to pass you by – in fact, may even impede your movement; though “planned”, there is not a single pedestrian crossing/over- or under-bridge across this 28km 8-lane expressway!!!


    bhupinder said...

    Not sure of you noticed, but the bridge is practically like a wall between the old and the new Gurgaon. The old Gurgaon is exactly the same it was 10 years back, while the new, elegant, uppity Gurgaon has come up only in the last five years.

    Perhaps there is a wisdom of sorts in not having the old, third world Gurgaon walk over the 'borders' into the first world heaven of the new Gurgaon. Remember the trouble Mr Bush has stopping those Mexicans walking over to the US in a similar way?

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