The Millennium City, Capital’s fashionable neighbourhood was caught unaware by the recent Jat agitation in the state of Haryana. Gurgaon, which is culturally and economically detached from the larger part of Haryana, was crippled not only financially and industrial production wise but also culturally. The Jat agitation also affected the most famous events of Gurgaon: The Car Free Day and Rahagiri. Both Rahagiri and the Car Free Day as events are participated by a large number of people on Sundays and Tuesdays respectively, but had to be cancelled keeping the uncertainty and security issues in mind.
“Such anti-social elements had disrupted the regular and much needed activities in the city. As the police was also engaged in controlling the agitation and we didn’t want to put the society in any kind of risk, so we felt that it was better to call off the events, keeping the security in mind”, said Sarika Panda Bhatt of Embarq India Manager (cities and transport).
In the recent years, this was the first time that Section 144 was imposed in the city, which meant that the gathering of four or more than four people together at a place will be liable to get arrested or in this case, shoot at sight as the police had ordered. Blocked roads in Gurgaon included Sohna Road, Cyber City, National Highway-10, Daultabad flyover, Dhanwapur level crossing, Bajghera level crossing, Sector 5 road near Gyandeep School, Subash Chowk, Chaudhary Bhakhtawar Chowk, Maharana Pratap Chowk, Dhankot, Basai and Gurgaon Gaon.
The three days when the city had come under the Jat stir, majority of the multinational companies had sent their employees an official email asking them to work from home.
For instance, Nagarro, an IT servicing and consultancy company in Gurgaon’s Udyog Vihar with a strength of around 4,500 employees had fallen short of attendance as majority of its employees chose to work from home. The Cyber City, home to 90 per cent of the IT offices was blocked by agitators adding more fear to the existing tension. Not only the workplace was affected but both government and private schools were asked by the district administration to stay shutdespite the Jat leaders officially calling off the protests.
An advisory issued by TL Satyaprakash, Deputy Commissioner of Gurgaon read: “Even when the Jat agigation has been called off, we would still request the schools to stay shut on Monday, meanwhile, women and children are advised to stay indoors till the tensed environment settles down”.
The city came to a grinding halt for nine hours (rare of the rarest traffic situation) as the commuters were caught in the snarls across the city as thousands of protesters had blocked all the major roads on February 19. The situation turned bad around noon, parents were asked to come and pick up their children from the school. “Severe traffic jam on Sohna Road. Bus routes S-8, S-11, S-14 will not be able to ply. The kids are retained in the school. Parents may pick up these kids from school,” read a message from The Heritage School. Around hundreds of calls were received at 100 (police emergency number) to check the traffic situation at various points in Gurgaon. The Mehrauli-Gurgaon Road and roads near IFFCO Chowk and HUDA City Centre Metro stations were also blocked.
People had reached their saturation point when sector 5, 10, 11 and 14 witnessed water cut after the Yamuna Water Canal, a major source of water for the Millennium city, was damaged in the Jat quota agitation. While Gurgaon needs at least 70 million gallons per day (MGD) of water, only 25 MGD was supplied to the city Tuesday and Wednesday, said HUDA sub- divisional engineer Subash Piplani.
Taking the bigger picture into consideration, over 10,000 trucks were stranded, which hit the supply of daily amenities very hard. As prices of essential commodities like milk and vegetables soared as Gurgaon gets milk from Mewat and vegetables from Maharashtra, Jammu and Punjab.
The agitation paralysed the city’s basic services as several empty oil tankers were lined up near the Panipat Oil Refinery. Truck transportation in the city and neighbouring areas had come to a standstill as many roads and major state highways were blocked. Sources also said that the transport association had to pay penalties to companies as they failed to deliver the good in time. The industrial plants in Gurgaon and Manesar witnessed a heavy loss in their production, as the workers of most industrial plants in Gurgaon and Manesar did not turn up on Monday as well.
In a drastic shift of events, production at the Maruti Suzuki plant in Manesar and Gurgaon were suspended due to the break in the supply chain of certain components. Even when Maruti was
trying it’s best to work on a solution to restart the production, it comes as a challenge as the major state highways were still blocked by agitators across the state. Meanwhile, the Central Teacher Eligibility Test was also postponed due to the Jat stir.
But, taking it as a challenge, the city didn’t get caught in the stir and tried its level best to provide sustenance and help if needed. The district administration had also cancelled leaves of doctors and support staff of the state-run civil hospital in Gurgaon in order to be prepared for any emergency.
Keeping security issue in mind, around 1,500 cops have been deployed in the city – including 500 from Rapid Action Force and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF). Several cops, along with 12 ACP rank officials, have been deployed to keep a tab on the Delhi-Gurgaon border area and the city’s major intersections such as NH-8 and the toll plaza.