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With parties busy sparring, Delhi unlikely to get relief from civic nightmare

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By Sidharth Mishra

On the first working day of 2022, the city had witnessed a huge jam following the Bandh call given by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) protesting the implementation of the New Excise Policy. It was an indicator of the things to come, we all know what turn the New Excise Policy took, landing a Minister in jail and several named in the charge-sheet of what seems to be a humungous scam.

There are no aggressive indicators this time around and hopefully the city would be free of any jam on the first working day of the year. And if that happens, hopefully the city too witnesses a jam free year. This is quite possible as the same political party is now dominant force in both the state assembly and the municipal council.

However the famous English poet TS Eliot said, “… between the idea and the reality falls the shadow.”  Given the posturing by the two leading political parties of the city – The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), there would be continued jam in the smooth governance of the city. The blame game would continue and the city’s civic health would continue to suffer.

However, the Aam Aadmi Party is back to what it does best indulge in propaganda than govern. It has already started a campaign titled ‘BJP’s 15 years Vs AAP’s 3 weeks’, which is 'showcasing' the work done by its councillors in the last 20 days. Their prominent MLA Durgesh Pathak has claimed that the party has not even officially taken the oath of the MCD and within a few days a big change is visible in the city.

For the past few days CM Arvind Kejriwal and Deputy CM Manish Sisodia too have been sharing ‘before and after’ photos of areas where there were mounds of garbage before AAP won the MCD polls and where a clean-up has happened since. Several councillors from wards across the city have been tweeting the photos. Hadn't there been a clamp down by the Lieutenant Governor, they would have probably flooded the newspapers with the advertisements of these photos.

Sanitation and solid waste management are the responsibility of the civic body, and AAP had been attacking the erstwhile BJP-led MCD over the lack of cleanliness and the three garbage mounds in Delhi continuously over the past two years. The BJP, on the other hand, had accused the AAP government of meting out step-motherly treatment to the corporation and not giving it enough funds to pay employees and tackle the issue. The challenge to clean the city is easier said than done and one would know only in times to come whether the MCD under AAP delivered on its promises.

City’s administrator that is the Lieutenant Governor meanwhile continues with his battle to expose the flaws of the Delhi government headed by Arvind Kejriwal. Following the media reports of the homeless living under open sky in freezing cold, Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena decided to visit the facilities and expressed “shock” over lack of sanitation facilities at shelter homes, which forced the inhabitants to defecate in the open.

Besides, he also mentioned that cramped shelter homes put thousands to spend nights beneath the open sky amid freezing temperature. The statement from Raj Niwas, indicting the Kejriwal government for its failure to provide shelters, went onto mention that the total capacity of night shelters at the sites was only 600, while about 5,000 homeless people were living in the area.

Delhi’s chances of getting its politicians pay attention to its civic administration looks remote. The sparring on social media would continue and Delhi would have to endure with filth and garbage, which has come to symbolize the city.

(The writer is Author and President, Centre for Reforms, Development & Justice)  


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