From the day he took over as the administrator of Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) in Gurgaon, Dr. Praveen Kumar has been making waves with the positive and constructive steps he has introduced for the overall civic and infrastructural development of Gurgaon. Not only does Dr. Kumar personally visit localities and give a patient hearing to residents’ problems, he pulls up government officials in cases where there’s a lackadaisical approach from their end. In fact, a majority of Gurgaon residents feels that there has been a visible transformation in the administrative functioning ever since Dr Kumar joined office in October 2011. He has also been infamous for denying inappropriate requests and taking stern steps against illegal practices. In a candid chat with Syed Amir Ali Hashmi, the administrator and qualified homeopath talks about his work and the way he tackles various situations.
You have been known for your no nonsense approach and offering out-of the- box solutions to most problems. Brief us on your plans for Gurgaon?
At HUDA, we have an answer to all the problems. We just need to introduce an honest intention to it. One needs to think what best can be done in a given situation. My aim is to do genuine work for the betterment of society. If a Gurgaon resident comes to me with a problem, my first step is to give solace and positivity to him. Thereafter, I try and solve it.
What are the key areas that you would like to improve on in Gurgaon and what are the positives about the city?
We have to understand that solutions can be achieved at both macroscopic and microscopic levels. In Gurgaon, we have to deal with both. We, at HUDA, have realised that water is the biggest problem in the city and we need to find solutions to tackle this situation at the earliest. To conserve water, HUDA is constructing around 700 water harvesting structures.
The second most persistent troublemaker is traffic so we have constructed slip roads which has eased out the situation to a large extent. Then, we are trying to provide enough parking spaces in all the sectors. For this, we have identified 10 sites for multi-level parking facilities. This will help curb the problem of illegal parking. Recently, I kick started the “Clean The City” campaign which has been well-accepted by the residents and progressing at a rapid pace.
We are also trying to tackle the problem of encroachments in the city as the government intends to re-construct Gurgaon and make it look more beautiful and organised.
You have apparently identified indiscipline and inefficiency as the key problems among HUDA officials as these seem to be the main reasons behind poor civic services. How do you intend overcoming this problem and inculcate work culture among these employees?
I believe one needs to have good intention to achieve a goal as it is stronger than the system. By strict action, we can control 50- 60 per cent of the problem. After all, every system has the capacity and we need to improve the system as well as the intention.
HUDA has been contemplating to make rainwater harvesting mandatory in Gurgaon. Please tell us more on this issue.
Gurgaon will be immensely benefited if we introduce the Tamil Nadu model in which houses without this system lose their drinking water connection. We have forwarded the model to the state government for approval and hope it gets approved.
HUDA Gurgaon has decided to set up labs and engage consultants to ensure quality in various development projects.
What’s the progress on this front?
We have taken this step as it ensures that the analysis is done in the city itself. We get the report faster and it helps in faster delivery of a project. Like Rajasthan adopted simple and effective cold bituminous mix to solve the problem of potholes in the state. This mix is used to fill potholes during monsoon even when they are wet. Such solutions are required to makes infrastructure ready for public in least possible time. I aim to turn Gurgaon into a city where everyone would dream of owning a home tomorrow. And this is only possible if we keep doing our karmas without bothering about the results.
What are your other interests?
I indulge in skydiving, mountaineering and photography whenever I get time from my busy work schedule. And then I’m interested in understanding the human mind better.