was unbelievably crowded (around I lakh) people thronged the premises. Those
who were fortunate to get in found themselves locked in as the shutters were
rolled down. The crowed outside had to face a lathi-charge. Inside as well
there was much damage caused. It was utter confusion and chaos. This could be
taken-up as a wake-up call that the infrastructure is not matching to the
pepped-up retail scene.
The mall has always been a subject of curiosity, glitz and debate.
International brands like Levi’s, Reebok, Bose (You heard it right) and
McDonald’s clutter the air-conditioned interiors, the young and the
not-so-young in high fashion gear can be seen just everywhere, cappuccino is
sold at kiosks, and everyone appears to be having great time. The glass and
metal façade of the malls in gurgaon, looks like a perfect emblem of the new
India. Dazzling with neon logos of sprawling departmental stores, western and
ethnic clothing retail spaces, gift shop and fast food restaurant, the mall’s
glistening exterior seems to capture the exuberance of India’s economic boom.
The icing on the cake is that the malls could now operate 24X 7. Is the
infrastructure ready for more malls operational round-the-clock. With Delhi
also jumping onto the bandwagon, will the malls in gurgaon be able to enthrall
call of the mall is ringing out loud and clears for developers in Gurgaon. But
residents or anyone who has to drive through the Mehrauli-Gurgaon Road, are
more likely to complain of of mental mauling. Today, with just six malls in
operation, people already find it faster to walk than to drive along two-km
stretch during peak hours. The scenario after a few years when all the
proposed malls spring-up is dreary. Those who have driven through the way on
weekends know how nightmarish the experience is. The rest of Gurgaon will not
escape either, with sixty malls being planned. Never mind that many residents
already complain bitterly that this upscale suburb is literally straining at
the seams as basic infrastructure lags far behind explosive runaway growth.
But will the gold rush last? This the topic of debate troubling every
responsible Gurgaonnite. With so many players fighting for the same slice of a
limited pie, the situation seems more chaotic than rosy. Some Believe that
there is no way so many malls are going to survive. While those who
established themselves early may fare better. Being open 24 hours will amount
to even more competition. What is intriguing is that how the infrastructure
will cope with it. Increased security, more staff, increased police patrolling
are key requirement. The residents are not really hopeful of fool-proof
security. “The pace of infrastructure development and the response of
authorities has not been encouraging till now. Keeping the malls open
round-the-clock is a decition and should be backed with adequate measures.”
Says Nirmal Khurana, a resident of DLF-IV.