People of Delhi had voted for the BJP in the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) about four months ago. The BJP has taken many initiatives to streamline the MCD system, which had almost collapsed under the ten years? rule of Congress. Organiser representative Pramod Kumar spoke to new Mayor, Sushri Arti Mehra to know about the initiatives taken by the BJP. Excerpts:
Will the recent ordinance notified by the Union Urban Development Ministry regarding unauthorised colonies of Delhi help?
Definitely, it will prove helpful to a great extent. This ordinance was to be notified in February this year, but the Congress governments, both in the State and the Centre, continued to befool Delhiites. If it had been notified earlier the people of Delhi would not have suffered the loss of billions of rupees due to sealing and demolition. Now too, this ordinance has not come so easily. We have been fighting for it for months. You will be surprised to know that the BJP leaders met the Urban Development Minister Shri Jaipal Reddy many times for it. But the Congress leaders had no time even to meet the Minister. It was the pressure built by the BJP that forced the Urban Development Ministry to issue this notification.
What steps have to taken to make the functioning of MCD more people-friendly?
In the shortest span of four months we have tried our best to make the MCD people-friendly. We introduced filing of online House Tax making things much easier for people and making the Corporation more transparent. People will see the positive result of our initiatives in coming a few months.
Parking mafia continues to harass the public. How and when will you stop it?
We have so far identified 104 parking sites and have also done the tendering. In that open tendering we did not restrict the registered guys or the mafias only to participate. We invited NGOs, individuals, Residents Welfare Associations (RWAs), cooperative societies and others in it. But these mafias went to the court against our initiative and blocked this exercise. The court understood their intention and has recently fined them Rs 2,000 for unnecessarily misleading the court. Now everything is clear. In coming one or two months Delhiites will see a proper parking system. We are identifying new parking sites. Even on the sites where the MCD has not authorised anyone, the parking mafias are extorting money from the people. The parking sites, which are supposed to be free, the mafias are running their activities. We will not allow it anymore.
What are you going to utilise the excess unusued urban land with MCD?
MCD is not a profit making body. We are an autonomous body and have to create our own revenues without putting burden on the public at large. We have many revenue plans, which we shall introduce in future and we shall do many thing concrete.
The standard of education in MCD schools is very poor. What is your plan to improve it?
We are doing only the primary education. We are imparting education to almost nine lakh children. Lakhs and lakhs of people come to Delhi from other states in search of employment. Education for their children is must. Our motto is that maximum number of boys and girls should come to school. Our thrust is to educate more girl children in the national capital.
A number of MCD parks are being misused by tent mafias. Comment.
We have fully streamlined the system completely eradicating tent mafias from the scene. Our concern is that parks should be available to people not through the tent mafia. We may allow it only for this November weddings. We are also stopping online bookings in this regard. Now the booking of parks will be done through the elected MCD members and the concerned Deputy Commissioners.
There are reports of your differences with the Government of Delhi. Why?
It is because there are two different governments in Delhi, elected by the people. Especially the way we have come to power, I think, they have not taken it positively, though they should have. But it did not worry us. We will get our work done this way or that way.
Division of MCD is a hot issue in Delhi. What is your stand on it?
My party'sstand is my stand. The area of Delhi is very big. There are areas where the members have to come from the distance of 100 km and it requires one to two hours. I strongly feel there should be trifurcation of MCD to systemise the things.
There are so many illegal slaughter-houses in Delhi and the MCD has failed to check them. How long will it continue?
The previous government did not do anything in this regard. Finally the court had to intervene. Since we came power, the Ghazipur project has started taking a shape and in November end, we shall do the trial and in December we shall run it fully. To control the illegal slaughtering we need another big slaughter house in Delhi other than the Ghazipur. The executive wing is finding site for it.
The condition of MCD run dispensaries and hospitals is very poor. How will you improve it?
No, the situation has improved now. Good numbers of people come and take benefit from our dispensaries and hospitals. In Delhi, there are certain areas where the previous councilors were very insensitive and things had gone wrong in those areas. But the new members appear very conscious. The more conscious they are, the more we shall be able to improve the things.
The private power distribution companies have not yet cleared the dues of MCD. Why?
Yes they have not cleared our dues. It is about Rs 150 crore. Interestingly, they are charging hefty amount from Delhiites, they are not paying the dues of the civic body. We know how to take our money and we shall take soon.