Action plan for sustainable development of Gurugram unveiled before World Environment Day

Plan prepared by Centre for Science and Environment in association with Gurgaon First, under the aegis of Municipal Corporation of Gurugram

Plan presents a blueprint of how Gurugram can avoid inevitable disaster by committing to a wide range of actions to meet sustainability goals

New Delhi / Gurugram, June 1, 2017: Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) and Gurgaon First – under the aegis of the Municipal Corporation (MCG) of Gurugram -- have come together to assess the challenges that Gurugram faces and offer a framework for sustainable development of the township. The framework – put together as a document titled Gurugram: A framework for sustainable development -- was released today by Rao Inderjit Singh, minister of state, Union ministry of urban development, at the Gurugram Environment Conclave, as a build-up to the World Environment Day.

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Speaking at the release event, Anumita Roychowdhury, executive director-research and advocacy, CSE, said: “This citizen’s initiative brings together all those who are worried about the sustainability of this rapidly growing city to define a roadmap for providing clean air, clean water, waste-free neighbourhoods, energy security, pollution- and congestion-free mobility, affordable living and more green areas and forests for the well-being of all, including the urban poor.”

She added: “The guidance framework and action agenda, based on consultations with local stakeholders, is an opportunity to ensure Gurugram grows without compromising its liveability. This joint initiative, which has taken shape under the aegis of the MCG, is expected to act as a guide and template for sustainability parameters for all future development in Gurugram.” 

The framework document says that explosive urbanisation has led to a five-times increase in population of Gurugram since 2001. The NCR city has seen the third largest increase in per capita income in India after Chandigarh and Mumbai. Almost 45 per cent of Haryana’s revenue comes from Gurugram through state taxes. This kind of unprecedented growth has made enormous demands on resources including water, energy, land, mobility and biodiversity, and is generating mountains of waste. If not addressed at the early stages of growth, this can turn Gurugram into a living hell.

The framework document bases much of its recommendations and action agenda on the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Government of India is committed to meeting the Goals and the New Urban Agenda by 2030, while state governments are expected to translate those Goals on the ground. This set of 17 Goals are related to ending poverty and hunger, improving health and education, making cities more sustainable, combating climate change and protecting forests. The SDGs for sustainable cities relate to urban planning, design, and management; clean air, water and soil; affordable, inclusive and accessible transport; climate mitigation and building resilience and integrating the needs of the poor. 

The challenges: Is this the Gurugram we want? 

The review of the evidence points to the immense resource stress that this rapidly growing Millennium city is under:

Water blues

  • The gap between demand and supply to jump from 34 per cent to 57 per cent in years to come.

  • Due to unchecked use of groundwater, water table falling at a rate of 1-3 meters a year. Over 300 per cent over-extraction in several blocks. 

  • Central Ground Water Board warning – once the water table reaches 200 m below ground level, only rocks will be left. Groundwater and freshwater use has been banned for construction. 

Drowning in sewage

  • Official forecast for sewage generation is 533 million litres in 2021. That of capacity to treat sewage is only 255 million litres!

  • Tests on treated wastewater done by Haryana State Pollution Control Board in 2012 at the outlet points of STPs has found aqueous pollutants at 182 milligrams per litre – the average for municipal sewage after a three-stage treatment should be 20 mg per litre.

  • Treated water is drained out of the city and not recycled. Tankers carry sewage from unsewered areas and dump it in fields and stormwater drains. 

Killer air 

  • Limited monitoring shows Gurugram is among the most polluted cities in NCR. Winter pollution is very severe. Exposure levels in key commercial areas is very high. During winters, hospitals and schools also show very high levels.

  • Rising number of vehicles, high use of diesel vehicles and diesel generator sets are the key polluters.    

Mobility crisis

  • Growing dependence on personal vehicles. Between 2008 and 2015 car registration increased by 352 per cent. Bus registration is down by 300 per cent, while para-transit has declined by 39 per cent.

  • There are four times more cars per 1,000 people than in Delhi.

  • Share of public transport, walk and cycle has dropped from 58 per cent to 40 per cent.

  • Urban design does not allow deeper penetration of public transport in neighbourhoods. 

High road accident risk  

  • Pedestrians and cyclists most vulnerable; Very high accident risk on NH-8 – 60 per cent of the accidents occur here.

  • Less than 23 per cent of road lengths have usable footpath; only 20 per cent of the streets have proper street lights. 

Energy insecurity

  • Massive shortfall in electricity supply in a state where electricity demand is rising at 10 per cent a year. 10-12 hours of power outages. Draft Master Plan of Gurugram (2014) says the maximum power is used up industries and residences.

  • Across all sectors, electricity demand has increased by at least 55 per cent since 2005.

  • An estimate from Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitran shows electricity supply is about 25 per cent short of demand. Lifestyle pressures will worsen the situation. 

  • There is enormous dependence on polluting diesel generator sets.

  • Electricity demand from city-wide infrastructure including street lights, motors, water pumping etc is also rising.

  • Haryana is in forefront in the country on policies to push for renewable energy but this needs scale and implementation.

  • Opportunity for solar is high – Haryana has high intensity of solar radiation for 320 days. Gurugram currently has 17 MW of solar rooftop installed. Has a target of another 11 MW until 2017. Steps towards net metering have been taken – consumers can sell to the grid.

Waste mountains

  • 90 per cent of the collected solid waste taken to a landfill. Waste generation is growing at 5 per cent annually. According to the MCG, per capita incremental increase in waste generation is about 1.3 per cent per annum. 

  • There is enormous potential of recycling waste, since more than half of the municipal waste is biodegradable. Municipal and community action has just started. This needs scale. The city has already taken progressive steps in the area of construction and demolition waste.

Sustainability for all 

  • About 10 per cent of the slum population of the state lives in Gurugram. 72 per cent of the migrant workforce lives with shared basic facilities. In some areas, migrants are 60-90 per cent of the local population. An affordable housing policy should cater to the stratified needs of the urban poor – building typology, habitat planning and basic services.

  • Issues of participatory planning, in-situ development, upgraded housing, fiscal and professional help for self-construction etc need to be addressed.

Protecting the ‘lungs’

  • Forests, the Aravallis and tree cover under enormous development pressure. According to the statement of intent of the Gurugram Development Authority, it aims to meet the international benchmark for open green spaces that WHO prescribes -- 9 sq meter per person.  

The solutions: How should Gurugram develop

We list here some of the key suggestions. For the complete list of suggested goals, please see the framework document.

Water and wastewater

  • Reduce overall water demand by at least 25 per cent from current levels through water efficiency and conservation measures.

  • Ensure equitable access to clean water for all. 

  • Promote decentralised wastewater treatment for reuse and recycling.

  • Conserve rainwater; increase groundwater recharge. Reduce dependence on water supply from longer distances.


  • Meet the national ambient air quality standards for all pollutants in a time-bound manner. 

  • Map out exposure levels and local pollution sources across the city for stronger local action. 

  • Take integrated approach towards controlling outdoor as well as indoor air pollution sources (like biomass chulhas). 


  • Ensure that at least 90 per cent of daily motorised travel trips are carried by affordable, reliable and modernised public transport systems, para-transit and non-motorised transport. 

  • Eliminate traffic fatalities and road injuries. 

  • Make commuting safe and accessible for women. 

  • Promote universal road design for differently-abled. 

  • Promote compact city design to reduce distances and vehicle-km travelled and increase public transport and walking. 


  • Reduce energy intensity of the built environment of the city by at least 30-35 per cent. 

  • Improve energy savings in buildings by setting energy performance targets and adopt enabling strategies.

  • Build a solar city – increase renewable energy use.

  • Promote rooftop solar power in all new and existing residential, commercial, and institutional buildings and link it to reduced use of diesel generator sets. 

  • Install renewable energy solutions to meet electricity generation equivalent to 5 per cent of the demand load.  


  • Promote zero landfill development – minimise and reuse solid waste. Not more than 10 per cent of waste should go to landfill sites. 

  • Promote mandatory decentralised segregation and collection in all residential colonies and institutions, with composting sites at colony and ward levels.

  • Promote properly designated and operated construction and demolition waste sites and recycling facilities that are well audited. 

Sustainability for all

  • Provide equitable access for all including poor households, renters and slum dwellers to basic resources and services.

  • Develop urban villages as model urban villages with all sustainability parameters.   

Forests and green areas 

  • Earmark at least 10 per cent of the land area as forests. Earmark an additional 15 per cent as additional green areas – such as tree cover, parks, roadside green belts etc.

  • Protect at least 5 per cent as a wildlife sanctuary, national park, community reserve or conservation reserve.

  • Earmark wastelands in and around the Aravalli hills as forests to increase forest cover. 

For access to the framework document and any other details, please contact: