Accusing Delhi L-G Vinai Kumar Saxena of not inviting her for inspections of G20 projects and seeking credit for the AAP Delhi government’s efforts, PWD minister Atishi said politicking over the G20 Summit should be avoided.
Preparations for the Summit were done in two phases, including big infrastructure work, over the last two years. Beautification was carried out in the last two months… it is like preparing for a wedding, with decoration, lighting… Finishing touches are underway across Public Works Department (PWD) roads.
BJP has alleged all the work being done for the Summit is funded by the Centre and the Delhi government has not given a penny?
I am very sad that the BJP is doing politics around an event like G20 which is a matter of national pride… if we fight over it, news will reach foreign embassies and further to their countries. It does not give a good message. So, we did not do any politics over any matter related to the Summit. Multiple agencies in Delhi, like the PWD, NDMC, MCD, and Delhi Cantonment Board, are looking after roads. Work in NDMC, Cantonment and NHAI areas is fully funded by the central government. The PWD is developing and beautifying 23 roads; this is funded by the Delhi government. The MCD has done development work around Old Delhi. In February, we asked the central government to give Rs 927 crore for G20 preparations but they did not give a single penny.
There is a controversy over Shivling fountains on the Airport road. Who installed these?
They are situated on Delhi Cantonment Board land, work on that road is funded by NHAI. If you go through the L-G’s Twitter timeline, you will see that the road was inaugurated by him and (union minister) Nitin Gadkari…They are saying they installed it. Faith is a very big thing in our country… Shivling, if you see, is established in particular directions, pure water is offered, and there are rituals that are followed. So, religious sentiments have definitely been hurt.
The street-scaping project to bring Delhi’s roads up to standard is now complete. Who does the credit go to?
Beautification of roads in Central Delhi has been done by the Arvind Kejriwal government over the last three years, it was not done in three months… The CM supervised these projects. (AAP leader) Manish Sisodia ji used to personally inspect them every week. I feel it is unfortunate that politics is being done on this. In Indian tradition, the word ‘Main’ (I) is equivalent to ‘Ahankar’ (arrogance)… L-G sahab now says… that ‘I did everything’. We deliberately avoided politics on G20… At Rajghat, spread across 250 acres under CPWD, there is not a single drain. What has the CPWD been doing for the last 75 years, the BJP government… for the last 10 years, the L-G in the one year of his tenure? When water inundated Rajghat, we deployed the PWD, MCD and DJB to help CPWD… I went there (too). L-G sir goes to all Delhi government sites, water bodies, clicks pictures… wasn’t he aware there was no drain inside Rajghat? Similarly, at the ITPO tunnel, the contractor did not link the construction to the drain and when it rained and water accumulated… they released water into the tunnel. It was not waterlogging, the central government poured water into the tunnel.
How often did the Delhi government coordinate with the L-G for G20 work?
I have been the PWD minister for the last six months but not once has the L-G called me for any meeting regarding G-20. For any inspection, he calls our officers… Protocol-wise, he is a senior and we will follow his rules but he has never called us… In Delhi, coordination is the L-G’s responsibility… The CM even said that the L-G has taken the lead…
Has the friction between the L-G and Delhi government impacted work on ground?
If he had coordinated with us, things would have been much better. The same project is being monitored separately by the L-G and I… officers first go with him, then with me… This is a waste of everyone’s energy and time. But, obviously, I can’t go to his meetings uninvited. I would have gone along with him if he had called me.
What have you and the CM personally monitored for the Summit?
We personally monitored redevelopment and beautification of all PWD stretches… When the ITPO tunnel was under construction, Manish Sisodia sahab used to visit… and take stock monthly. During inauguration, they showed their true nature and did not invite us, even though PWD was the executing agency… Day-to-day beautification work is being done and monitored by the elected government.
The L-G recently said he walked 215 km to assess G20 preparations; your comment?
Let us not go down that road… who has done what or not. Everyone knows who works and does not work in Delhi… BJP was in MCD for the last 15 years… AAP came and aggressively cleared the garbage mountains and they are taking credit… Be it (projects under) DJB or MCD, he (L-G) first goes and clicks pictures saying ‘We did the work’… Now, he will claim credit for Chandrayaan…
What plans do you have to counter waterlogging?
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Earlier, there were 14 waterlogging hotspots. After the floods (in July), we have identified 45. All mobile pumping sets have been stationed around key G20 Summit locations. Hopefully, there will be no waterlogging and flooding… We have made a lot of arrangements for mobile pumping sets.
The L-G has alleged the CM has full authority to call the NCCSA meeting but has cancelled it six times. What is your take on this?
The NCCSA is fundamentally…unconstitutional… and we have challenged it… before the Supreme Court. Do you think we are happy where the CM is in a minority position? But till the SC judgment comes, we made a mechanism for the benefit of the people… but they are not ready… The L-G wrote a four-page letter mentioning the phrase ‘Sole discretion’ 10 times… clearly saying, ‘Main hi hoon, meri hi chalegi’.
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