The Water Minister of the Delhi Government Shri Saurabh Bhardwaj on Sunday hit out at the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi Shri Vinai Kumar Saxena for stealing credit for Elected Government’s projects. The LG has been conducting inspection of drains of the Delhi Government and issuing lengthy press releases to make it look like the work was being conducted under his supervision. The minister said that it was because of the magnanimity of Delhi Chief Minister Shri Arvind Kejriwal that the Delhi Government until now allowed the LG to visit these drains like a tourist.
Providing details of the visits conducted by the LG, Shri Saurabh Bhardwaj said that the work at these drains has been ongoing since 2017 and said that at the point, the LG would not have even known how many MLAs were elected from Delhi. He further advised the LG to take charge of the department that are under him, and allow the Delhi Government to fulfill its responsibilities towards the residents of Delhi. He said that if the LG does well in the departments that are assigned to him, then the Delhi Government will praise his work and said that it should be likewise.
Addressing a press conference on the issue at the Delhi Secretariat on Sunday, Shri Saurabh Bhardwaj said that the LG is not allowed to spend even a single rupee that belongs to the Delhi Government as the Constitution of India does not give him that power. It is only the elected government can allot money from the Budget, he pointed out.
Cabinet Minister Shri Saurabh Bhardwaj, presented relevant documents on the topic during his press conference and said that this work had been undertaken by the Delhi Government in 2017 and the respective Water Ministers since then have constantly tweeted about the work that was taking place from time to time. He further said that the Delhi Chief Minister Shri Arvind Kejriwal, who is a well-educated person and passed out from the famed Indian Institute of Technolody (IIT) has formulated a vision to clean the drains in Delhi along with the Yamuna river.
Providing further details, he said that to clean the Yamuna, the drains that are falling into it, such as the Najafgarh drain, Shahdara drain, and supplementary drain, would need to be cleaned first. The water from those drains will have to be cleaned so that the Yamuna does not remain dirty and polluted. “This initiative of the Delhi Government began in 2017. Initially, we treated the Ghoga drain, after which a central government official issued a letter recommending other states to learn from Delhi. This letter that is from the CPHO department which is under Union Shri Hardeep Puri is a proof of the good work of the Delhi Government,” he said.
The Water Minister further said that the Rajokri drain, which is situated in the souther part of the city, was treated in 2017, and for this work, the Delhi Government received an award from the Central government. He added that in 2019, a pilot project was carried out on the Shahdara drain, and all the newspapers of the time carried this piece of information and also said that the work on the Shahdara drain was successful.
He hit out at the LG for now walking near these drains and trying to take credit for the work of the Delhi Government. “The LG at that point would not have known that Shahdara is the assembly constituency of the Speaker of the Delhi Assembly. While the Delhi Government and its departments are doing their work successfully, the LG now goes to these places and tries to take credit for it. The LG should be aware that he cannot spend a single rupee of the Delhi government Budget because the Constitution of India does not given him that power. We have allocated so much money for the cleaning of drains in the Budget and it is as a result of it that the drains in Delhi are being cleaned,” he said.
He further stated that the technology that the LG demonstrated in front of the media during his site visit today is called the Supplementary Drain and it was implemented in Delhi in 2021. “Aerators are installed in it so that the amount of oxygen in the water can be increased by air from the air. Floating wetlands are created so that the floating plantation can clean this water,” he said. He showed a tweet from the then Water Minister Shri Satyendra Jain’s Twitter handle and said, “This tweet, in which Satyendra Jain can be seen explaining about the same technology is from 2021,” he pointed out.
In the press conference, Shri Saurabh Bhardwaj also hit out at the LG for saying that an educational degree is not very important and that it is a just receipt that shows that a person has spent money. He said that the statement of the LG proves that he believes that the Prime Minister does not have a genuine degree. He further emphasized that the Chief Minister of Delhi Shri Arvind Kejriwal passed out of IIT, which is a very prestigious institution in the country. “It was the magnanimity of our Chief Minister that he did not say anything to you until now despite you trying to take the credit for the work done by Delhi Government. But today the LG said that there is no need for an IIT degree, a degree is just a receipt for money spent. I wonder how many Secretaries, Principal Secretaries, and Joint Secretaries of the LG are without degrees. Why keep degree holders when people without degrees are walking on the street?” he asked.
Water Minister Shri Saurabh Bhardwaj further said that those chief ministers who credit themselves with the work done by engineers from the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) merely wander around drains. “In November 2021, Chief Minister Shri Arvind Kejriwal explained his 6-point plan for the Yamuna, which was the same thing that the LG repeated today in front of the media while stading beside a drain. In it, Shri Arvind Kejriwal clearly stated that we will treat the sewage that falls into the Yamuna. In his budget speech in March 2022, Shri Manish Sisodia talked about it, and three months before Shri VK Saxena was appointed the LG, the government allocated Rs 705 crore for this work,” he said.
He further added that what the LG did today was not suitable and did not sit right with his constitutional position. “The LG should say to the residents of Delhi that this is the work and vision of Engineer Arvind Kejriwal, who studied at the IIT, and the budget allocation is done by him. But instead, the LG tried to issue press releases and make it look like he was incharge of this work. This demoralizes the officers, departments, and scientists who have done this work,” he said.
He concluded by saying that the residents of Delhi hope that the LG works in association with the Delhi Government and takes responsibility of the departments that are assigned to him. “The Constitution has given the responsibility of overseeing the law and order of Delhi to the LG. The Delhi Police is under his authority and yet there are murders taking place in Delhi in broad daylight. On New Year’s Eve, a girl was stripped and dragged for 21 kilometers. It was the LG’s job to protect her. It is LG’s job to stop such crimes. But, the Deputy Commissioner of Police went on to give a clean chit to the criminals, who have a charge sheet filed against them for being criminals today. Gang wars have been on the rise in Delhi under Shri VK Saxena’s authority, and he has done nothing to stop them. The LG should take responsibility for all this and ensure that citizens of Delhi feel safe,” he said.