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Delhi assembly elections: Congestion, poor roads & sewerage key concern for Malviyanagar

Saturday, 30 November 2013 - 12:21pm IST Updated: Saturday, 30 November 2013 - 1:57pm IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: PTI

The bustling market of Malviya Nagar might be doing great business but residents are cribbing about cramped spaces, sewage problems, broken roads, lack of footpaths and parking areas.

With widespread disgruntlement among residents over performance of sitting MLA and Education Minister Kiran Walia, BJP's nominee Arti Mehra appears to be in an advantageous position in the constituency. The AAP has fielded Somnath Bharti in the seat where a total of 16 candidates are in the fray.

"We do not have proper footpaths and the existing ones are also being encroached upon by hawkers and vegetable and fruit sellers. Nobody is concerned about the pedestrians," Malviya Nagar B-block RWA member Kulbir Singh said.

Raising the issue of traffic congestion in the area, Singh said his neighbour, an elderly man, had suffered a heart attack and passed away while being taken to the hospital last month. "We could not reach the nearest hospital due to traffic congestion," he lamented.

Even though electricity and water are available throughout the day, another RWA member of nearby Begumpur complained about high electricity and water bills "Earlier we used to pay mere Rs 500 to Rs 600 for water, but since its privatisation we end up paying over Rs 2000 for water alone," 54-year-old Suresh Dua said.

Lack of proper sewage line has been a major problem for all Begumpur residents, who claim that last year due to leakage in the sewage pipeline the drinking water got contaminated.

"We cannot invite guests at home because the sewage stench is so strong that you can smell it even inside the house... we are ashamed to be a resident of Begumpur," Dua said.

Identifying "poor security" as another major issue, he said 27 car batteries were stolen from the area recently.

He also said taps and other accessories have been stolen from public toilets in Malviya nagar, which has led to huge wastage of water that keeps flowing from the broken pipes.

Taking credit for reconstruction of dilapidated road outside Malviya Nagar Metro station, the RWA members of B-block and Shivalik apartments said multiplicity of authority has created confusion due to which work is not completed in time.

About the ongoing campaign, 45-year-old Lakhpat Singh of Begumpur said Congress is marketing its food security scheme in every nook and corner to attract the attention of people falling in BPL category.

"The party is trying to hard sell the food security scheme hoping it will benefit it, but the reality is different. Earlier, if a family of four was getting 30 kg wheat and 15 kg rice, that has gone down to wheat at 5 kg per person, which is much less than what they used to get earlier in many cases," said Singh.

The unauthorised colonies in the constituency are a glaring example of unplanned urban growth and though the government had promised to put in place basic infrastructure for them, little has been done so far.

"Layout plan has not yet been sanctioned by the banks, how can Congress say these (colonies) have been regularised?" said BJP candidate Mehra, alleging that people were disillusioned with the ruling party.

Noting that parking is a big challenge in the cramped market area of Malviya Nagar, Mehra said, if voted to power, BJP will also construct a parking lot similar to that in Hauz Khas.

Mehra said there is a strong anti-incumbency cry in the constituency and her party is getting a positive response during campaigning.

Not disregarding AAP-effect in the assembly polls, the BJP leader said even though the new party is attracting the educated youth, there is still not enough trust in them.

"We are getting a positive response and hopefully it will convert into votes. People want a change now. Congress has not done any work here," Mehra said.
Campaigning in the constituency, AAP nominee Somnath Bharti sounds crisp and clear about his agenda for the area and is confident that people will choose his party this time around.

"Sewer problem is a big issue in all the areas of constituency. People are unhappy with the prevalent sewer infrastructure and we are looking at how this can be changed for the better," Bharti said.

Noting that lack of drinking water is a major problem in the area and alleging corruption within Delhi Jal Board, Bharti hit out both at the Congress for "not doing any work" in the past 15 years as well as BJP for misgovernance in the MCD.

He also claimed that there is a strong nexus between private players and the government officials and the welfare of the people was being ignored.

He said due to inadequate number of government schools, people are forced to send their kids to private institutions which charge hefty fees.

"Walia is education minister but she has not made any effort to construct schools here. No attention has been given to bringing down the fees of schools already existing here.
The Congress MLA has failed miserably," he said.

The total number of electors in Malviya Nagar is 1.18 lakh, out of which around 64,000 are men and over 54,000 are women voters. 3,240 are first-time voters. The gender ratio stands at 846 women to 1000 men. Delhi goes to polls on December 4.

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