By Pramod Kumar
The obsession in the mind of Delhi'sChief Minister, Sheila Dikshit to develop Delhi as a world-class capital is bound to degrade the life of Delhiites. Every step taken by the government is aimed at earning more revenue without providing accompanying facilities. Despite the precondition stipulated in the agreement with the private companies, the electricity tariff was hiked by over 25 per cent this June. The new electric meters replaced by the private companies run so fast that the monthly bills have risen five times. According to officials of Delhi Jal Board (DJB), the new hiked tariff on water is ready and may be declared any time. By constituting the Water Regulatory Authority, the government has made its intention clear to privatise the city'swater supply. ?Once the water is privatised in Delhi, it will be equivalent to milk as has already happened in Paris. What is more, the same companies are being invited to Delhi also,? alleges Prof. Jagdish Mukhi, leader of the Opposition.
Those days have gone when maintaining a vehicle was a matter of pride in Delhi. It has now become a difficult task to do so. Not only because of burgeoning prices of petrol and diesel, but also due to the unprecedented hike in parking tariffs as well as in registration fee. If one attends his office for just eight hours daily and parks his car in the parking space, he has to pay at least 80 rupees daily, the amount in most cases being more than the price one has to pay for petrol. Even those people, who go to markets for shopping and park their car to stop at four or five places, have to dish out at least Rs 100. Not only this, the parking fee to be paid at the time of registration of vehicles, has been hiked up to Rs 4,000 for cars and Rs 500 for two-wheelers. The worst part of it is that the government has not developed adequate parking spaces and people have to park their vehicles on roadside only.
The state government has gradually ruined the public transport system in Delhi resulting in people being forced to buy more private vehicles. At one time, the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) used to enjoy a 95 per cent share in the public transport system; now it has been reduced to a mere 30 per cent. The rest has been taken over by private operators whose ultimate aim is to earn profit. There is also a move to hike bus fares very soon which is bound to add to the burden of the middle class. The Transport Commissioner has also issued orders recently banning the entry of vehicles into Delhi that do not carry the registration number of Delhi. It means people will have to stop living in the National Capital Region (NCR), which is being developed to decongest Delhi. What will happen if the people of NCR were to start returning back to Delhi?
Delhiites are amazed at the way the liquor policy has been liberalised by the government. By allowing liquor shops to remain open till 1 a.m., sale of liquor at general stores and also serving of liquor to persons below the age of 25, is violative of the Constitution of India that wants every state government to curb the consumption of liquor. But the Congress government is taking all steps to encourage consumption of liquor. It has also allowed liquor to be served in farmhouses and in banquet halls; this too is in gross violation of the Supreme Court'sorders. Not only this, pubs for students will soon come up. ?These are suicidal steps. This policy will create a social imbalance, a sense of insecurity among the young and a law and order problem in Delhi,? Prof. Mukhi added.
Despite Delhi police'sreservations, the government'snew order allowing shops to remain open till 11 p.m. from September 15 has opened a new Pandora'sbox. People, especially women, visiting markets at late hours may easily fell prey to the anti-social elements leaving liquor shops. The results can be gauged from the fact that during the last 100 days, over 300 rape cases have been reported in Delhi. That is why the Delhi police have reservations on opening shops till late hours. This decision will also adversely affect the family, social, religious and educational life of traders.
The condition in the education sector forces every sensible person to shed tears. Results of the Open Schools were declared on August 21 and admissions to schools were closed on August 20. After strong confrontation by the Opposition, the last date was extended by ten days, but due to the ifs and buts of the Education Director, hardly 10 per cent of the students could be accommodated and 90 per cent were forced to stay at home without admission as the government had closed down the correspondence school also, which used to accommodate thousands of students. Is this they way we plan to provide education to all? Thousands of vacancies of teachers are lying vacant since years. ?If two clerks are not there in any government office, the office can continue, but if even a single teacher is missing from a classroom, the entire discipline of the school goes to the dogs. The government does not realise this,? says Prof. Mukhi.
Over ten lakh industry-owners and their workers are on the streets, as electric and water supply to their industries have been discontinued. During the last few years a number of industrialists have died or committed suicide over this issue. But to no avail. The Supreme Court is not ready to allow these industries to be run in residential areas and the government has failed to relocate them. What is worse, this government has not even developed and allotted the land that had been acquired by the previous BJP government for relocation of these industries in Narela and Bawana. ?What is the fault of the industrialists? Why should not action be taken against the minister and the Department who have miserably failed? It is the fault of the government and not of those who have to shift,? remarked Prof. Mukhi.