PWD Minister Ms. Atishi wrote to the LG Shri Vinai Kumar Saxena urging him to appoint a Secretary for the PWD, on a priority basis.
Through the letter, PWD Minister Ms Atishi, reminded the LG that Chief Minister Shri Arvind Kejriwal had announced in January the redevelopment of about 1400 km of major roads in Delhi. This entails the upkeep of footpaths and the maintenance and repair of the central verge of roads, the blacktop of roads, etc. This project is being undertaken so as to deliver a world class road experience to the citizens of Delhi, at par with European standards, she wrote.
Ms. Atishi asserted that while the proposal for this project was supposed to be placed before the EFC and the Council of Ministers for approval in February 2023 and the project was scheduled to start from April 2023, the same has not been done because no one has been posted as a regular Secretary to the PWD since mid-February. Given that the project involves an expenditure of thousands of crores, those currently holding temporary charge do not feel confident to clear the proposal.
The Minister went on to assert that the PWD has remained practically ‘headless’ for the last 2 months. Providing more details, Ms Atishi added in the letter: “Shri Vikas Anand- who was PWD Secretary from November 2022 to February 2023 – was relieved of his charge on 15th February 2023, after which no officer was posted as the PWD Secretary. Shri Sanjay Goel, by virtue of being the Link-Officer, was handling the charge of PWD Secretary. An order dated 3rd March 2023 was issued for Shri A. Anbarasu to join as Principal Secretary PWD. However, as the order itself mentions, he has not even joined the Government of NCT of Delhi (GNCTD) so far and there is no clarity as to when he shall join. In the same order, Shri Manish Gupta was given charge of Additional Chief Secretary PWD – in addition to the charge of 3 departments already held by him, as well as being Nodal Officer for 3 important government projects – till Shri A. Anbarasu joins GNCTD. However, Shri Manish Gupta has gone on leave since 13th March. His first Link Officer Shri Sanjay Goel was on leave for 13th and 14th March, leaving his second Link Officer Shri A.K. Singh to handle PWD matters.”
Notably, the officers holding the charge in such quick succession, as a stop gap arrangement, do not feel confident to take decisions, especially when they are worth thousands of crores, thereby bringing crucial infrastructural development work in the national capital to a complete standstill.
The PWD Minister also informed that the absence of any PWD Secretary for the last two months, and the repeated stop gap arrangements, seem more like a deliberate attempt to stall the work of an elected government. She concluded the letter by stating: “I have only shared the example of the last two months of one single department of the Government. There are numerous such examples across different departments. How can any governance be done like this? I urge you to immediately post a regular Secretary.”1