“Our focus is on health, education and sanitation”
“The truth is that the Delhi government does not want to work with the Corporation and in many cases the Corporation itself is an important contributor. If the government does not help us, then we will use our resources. You will find debris along the roads of PWD, which create pollution. So instead of working, the Delhi government is blaming the Centre. And this is the reason there is no control on pollution. The Corporation strictly follows the court’s orders,” said Adesh Kumar Gupta, Mayor, North Delhi Municipal Corporation, in conversation with Deepak Kumar Rath. Excerpts:
You are the Mayor of North Delhi Municipal Corporation. What have been your priorities?
When I took responsibility, my first priority was sanitation. The way Prime Minister has promoted cleanliness, we are also striving to keep north Delhi clean so that our grade in cleanliness could increase. Last time our ranking in “Swachh Bharat Mission” was 279, it is now 206. But this time we have launched “Uttri Dilli hogi number one” campaign. Our effort is to come in the top 50. For that, we often check the ground level works and when we find any officer careless, we take strict action against him/her. The most important thing is that there are
dhalaos (garbage collection centers) along roads, which happen to be in very pitiable condition. To tackle this problem, we have converted them into compactors. In one compactor, 20 tonnes of garbage can be kept, so that the environment of that area will be healthy. We have installed about 40 compactors so far in Rohini, Civil Lines, Keshavpuram and wherever the compactors have been installed, there are a lot of relief for the people as cleanliness of these areas is very good now.
Apart from this, our wards had trouble in carrying building material and for this, we have provided one vehicle each in 104 wards. We have given the approval of the second ‘Waste to Energy’ plant, whereas one plant is already working. It is our endeavour that we could create energy from the waste material. We collect 4000 tonnes of waste material and our target is that we could generate about 20 megawatts of electricity from 2000 tonnes of waste material. 2000 tonnes of waste material goes to Bhalawa for dumping, when the second plant starts, it will help reduce garbage at the Bhalaswa garbage dumping centre, which has taken shape lof a mountain. Our target is that within two years, we stop dumping garbage at Bhalaswa. By the end of 2019, it will be stopped completely.
We are building 24 new primary schools. We have constructed six schools, which have been inaugurated. Similarly, we have six major hospitals, where we are introducing new innovative ideas. We are also going to start cancer testing there. Apart from this, we have controlled mosquito-borne diseases this year. And the reason behind this is that our DBC workers are checking it by going door to door.
Rani Jhansi flyover had been pending for 10-12 years. We completed its construction. This will also help in eradicating traffic snarls and and thus reducing pollution. Despite less resource and demoralisation by the Delhi government, we are doing our work regularly. The Delhi government has stopped all our development funds whether it is for roads, play parks, community centres or for JJ colonies. The most satisfying thing is that sweepers, who had gone on hunger strike last time, we assured them to pay salaries on time, which has made a good atmosphere this time.
How many public toilets are in 104 wards and who look after their management?
We have almost 10 thousand seats, of which five thousand are for women and five thousand are for men. We have given responsibility to NGOs for some of these toilets. But we are continuously checking them because we can get the defecation-free certificate, when any kind of irregularities are not found. We checked in 48 places where the dirt was found, due to which we suspended a sanitation officer. If we talk about the data, we have around 1700 urinals and for this, we are also taking the help of CSR funds.
Sanitation is still a concern in the Corporation hospitals?
No I don’t agree with you. You will see lots of differences today. For example, if you look at the Hindu Rao Hospital, you will see more cleanness there.
You said that the Delhi government has reduced your funds. But the Delhi government says that the Central government is not allowing it to work. What is the matter?
The budget of the Delhi government is about Rs 54 thousand crore, out of which Rs 11 thousand crore is returned back to the centre. So, it is wrong to say that the central government is creating hindrance in the Delhi government’s works. They themselves are unable to use their development funds. Last year, the Delhi government got Rs 1000 crore for controlling pollution from the centre. But they could spend only
Rs 93 lakh . So, it is wrong to say that they are not getting money. They are getting so much revenue, but they are not giving it to the Corporation, which has a lot of works to do.
The Supreme Court has repeatedly asked the Delhi government to control pollution. What is the reason behind this pollution?
The truth is that the Delhi government does not want to work with the Corporation, and in many cases, the Corporation itself is an important contributor. If the government does not help us, then we will use our resources. You will find debris along the roads of PWD, which create pollution. So, instead of working, the Delhi government is blaming ther centre. And this is the reason there is no control on pollution. The Corporation strictly follows the court’s orders. We have closed many factories creating pollution. So, we have tried our best to deal with this problem. But the Delhi government has not done even one per cent on this issue.
But they are claiming that they are doing a lot of work for the Mohalla clinics and schools.
This is only the politics of lies. If we talk about the condition of the Mohalla clinics, animals are roaming there. There is no doctor. Medicines are also not available. This is just a show-off. Through Mohalla clinics, this government is trying to show that it has done something. However, the government should do cogent works, which could benefit the common man.
You have only a few months left, what would be your focus on?
Our full attention will be on cleanliness. For this, I have also begun inspection and our focus is also on health, education and sanitation.