AAP's mohalla sabhas throw spanner in development works
Development projects to the tune of Rs 100 crore in one of the country's largest colonies have come to a standstill.
Following the Aam Aadmi Party government's plan to allow local committees or mohalla sabhas to decide and approve projects, such as roads, drainage systems and hospitals, the two government boards that worked in the area have been scrapped. Considering the mohalla sabhas can only be constituted once the Swaraj Bill is passed, all the planned and under-construction projects have therefore come to a halt.
East Delhi's Trans Yamuna area is a densely populated neighbourhood dominated by rural pockets and poor infrastructure. It is home to nearly 35 lakh people. To develop the area, the previous state government had constituted the Trans Yamuna Area Development Board (TYABD) and the Delhi Rural Development Board (DRDB). While the former was given Rs 80 crore to build roads and lay water and sewer pipelines, the latter had Rs 35 crore to convert the rural sector into planned colonies.
"These projects were approved by the board and the money was to be sanctioned. But everything has come to a standstill," said former TYABD chairman Narender Nath.
Among other projects taken up by these boards were a working women's hostel, a multi-level parking-cum-shopping complex and a community centre. A 100-bed hospital had also been approved.
Ever since the AAP government came to power, both the boards have ceased to exist partly because the chairmen of both the boards was an elected MLA. The other board members included the municipal commissioner, vice chairman of the Delhi Development Authority, the chief secretary of the state government and the area's MP.
As such, all the work announced and awarded by these boards have been put on hold. The work of three under-construction hospitals in east Delhi too has come to a halt because the new government has refused to release fresh installments. The government will also withhold funds for the monorail project which was approved by the previous Congress cabinet.
The AAP government is of the view that instead of these boards, the mohalla sabhas should decide whether or not a new road needs to be built or a new pipeline needs to be laid. The government plans to create 8 to 12 sabhas in all the 272 wards of Delhi. Three or four resident welfare associations will form one sabha. It is this sabha that will decide the requirement of the area. The government plans to introduce the Swaraj Bill in the Delhi Assembly on February 13.