Lack of plan­ning, poor fund strat­egy hurt­ing Delhi: L­G

Hindustan Times (Delhi) - - METRO - Sweta Goswami [email protected]­dus­tan­

UN­DER LENS Bai­jal high­lights prob­lems plagu­ing city at WRI global sem­i­nar, says all agen­cies must come to­gether to re­solve is­sues

NEW DELHI: Poor fi­nan­cial man­age­ment, lack of plan­ning and un­re­spon­sive ser­vice de­liv­ery sys­tems are plagu­ing the na­tional cap­i­tal, Lieu­tenant Gov­er­nor Anil Bai­jal said while ad­dress­ing a global sem­i­nar in Delhi on Wed­nes­day.

Bai­jal, while speak­ing at the sem­i­nar, ‘Con­nect Karo’, or­gan­ised by World Re­sources In­sti­tute (WRI) Ross Cen­tre, cited Delhi’s ex­am­ple and said that urban ar­eas in the city have been fac­ing inad­e­quate, in­ef­fec­tive and un­re­spon­sive ser­vice de­liv­ery sys­tems with util­ity net­works poorly main­tained and un­der-in­vested. He said that urban lo­cal bod­ies are suf­fer­ing from two key chal­lenges on the ca­pac­ity front — like lack of ex­per­tise on urban man­age­ment and short­age of man­power.

“The qual­ity of urban gov­er­nance needs to be im­proved. City ad­min­is­tra­tions do not have com­pe­tent and skilled op­er­a­tional staff to man­age cities, which have be­come ex­tremely com­plex places to gov­ern to­day,” Bai­jal said in his nearly 20-minute speech on sus­tain­able cities.

The L-G’S com­ments came at a time when the Delhi gov­ern­ment is fac­ing staff short­age with an av­er­age of 50% posts ly­ing va­cant across var­i­ous de­part­ments. A re­port on the staff crunch was pre­pared by the Delhi gov­ern­ment’s po­lit­i­cal ex­ec­u­tive and tabled in the Assem­bly by deputy chief min­is­ter Man­ish Siso­dia on Wed­nes­day. It states that de­part­ments such as law are func­tion­ing with as much as 87% va­can­cies.

Bai­jal also high­lighted how over­lap­ping ju­ris­dic­tions was af­fect­ing gov­er­nance in the na­tional cap­i­tal. “In Delhi, there are oc­ca­sions where it is al­most im­pos­si­ble for res­i­dents to as­cer­tain whether a colony would re­ceive its wa­ter and power sup­ply from one agency or un­der which au­thor­ity will a land par­cel fall for sanc­tion of a build­ing plan. This mul­ti­plic­ity of au­thor­ity fac­tor is pe­cu­liar to Delhi and you won’t find it any­where else,” he said.

Faced with lack of co­or­di­na­tion be­tween agen­cies neg­a­tively im­pact­ing work, the L-G said that the prac­tice of in­clud­ing urban lo­cal bod­ies only in im­ple­men­ta­tion of projects and not in the plan­ning stage needs to be changed. Bai­jal’s view re­flects in the con­di­tion of Delhi’s roads to­day. Road own­ing agen­cies like the mu­nic­i­pal cor­po­ra­tions and the pub­lic works depart­ment are re­spon­si­ble for its main­te­nance, but they do not have the power to prose­cute vi­o­la­tors for of­fences like en­croach­ments. Even as talks are on to em­power such of­fi­cials, chal­lan­ing pow­ers con­tinue to be only with the traf­fic po­lice and the en­force­ment team of the trans- port depart­ment.

“Urban lo­cal bod­ies have been de­nied mean­ing­ful en­gage­ment in plan­ning and de­liv­ery of ser­vices. Plan­ning has been a ne­glected in­stru­ment. As a re­sult, most of the no­ti­fied 5,100 towns do not have any city plan. By the time the city ad­min­is­tra­tion wakes up to the ne­ces­sity of a mas­ter plan, the urban scale gets so badly tarred by hap­haz­ard de­vel­op­ment that no plan­ning body can bring any sense to the sit­u­a­tion,” Bai­jal said.

The on­go­ing seal­ing drive against com­mer­cial es­tab­lish­ments is an ex­am­ple of how the civic bod­ies did not con­sider the pro­vi­sions laid un­der the Mas­ter Plan of Delhi (MPD), 2021, and al­lowed ram­pant unau­tho­rised con­struc­tions. The MPDS, on the other hand, are drafted by land own­ing agency Delhi De­vel­op­ment Au­thor­ity with lit­tle par­tic­i­pa­tion from lo­cal bod­ies.

Bai­jal added that state fi­nance com­mis­sions in most states have been formed but their rec­om­men­da­tions are hardly ever fol­lowed.


L­G Anil Bai­jal (sec­ond from left) at the ‘Con­nect Karo’ WRI global sem­i­nar on Wed­nes­day..

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