The Second Delhi Legislative Assembly

(First Session)

16th DECEMBER, 1998

           Mr. Speaker Sir and Hon’ble Members,

  I welcome you all to the first session of the newly elected Legislative Assembly. I hope that as elected representatives of the people, you will discharge your responsibility of making Delhi a peaceful and prosperous territory. I further hope that your deliberations in the Assembly are fruitful and lead to achievement of our developmental and other objectives while strengthening the democratic process.
  Since a large number of members have been elected for the first time, I impress upon you the need to continue the fine traditions set by the members of the last Assembly and thereby strengthen the role that the Assembly can play in improving the lives of the people.
  I wish to place on record the appreciation for the efforts of the public, the voters, the leaders, candidates and workers of political parties, and the administration for having conducted the General Elections peacefully and fairly.
  A number of promises were made to the people of Delhi during the General Elections to the Assembly. The Government has begun to work in right earnest in taking immediate steps towards fulfillment of these promises.
  The Government is dismayed and anguished at the high prices of food items and essential commodities, which has caused tremendous suffering to the consumer and housewives in particular, it is gratifying to note that with the effective steps initiated by the new Government, the prices of essential commodities, particularly vegetables, have started to come down. The Government shall take all steps that may be necessary to prevent hoarding of essential commodities and strictest possible action under law shall be taken against blackmarketeers, hoarders and speculators. To help achieve this objective, teams have already been constituted under Sub-division Magistrates for carrying out anti-hoarding drives in all the nine districts of Delhi. The public distribution system will also be improved and expanded to ensure supply of quality essential commodities at reasonable prices.
  The Government has decided to give priority to prevention of food adulteration. Teams headed by SDMs have also been constituted in each district to supplement the enforcement efforts of Department of Prevention of Food Adulteration. The Government shall spare no efforts in cracking down heavily on any person who is found indulging in such activity.
  The Government is taking steps to provide a good, transparent, efficient and responsive governance, which is accountable to the people. For this setting up of objective criteria for decision making will be a priority. A system of consultation with people will be established through Functional Committees and Constituency Committees.
  The Government will initiate steps to improve the safety and security of the citizens of Delhi. Augmentation of the Police force and police stations commensurate with the increase in population of Delhi over the years will be actively taken up with the Govt. of India which is responsible for law and order in the capital. This Government’s efforts will be intensified to ensure that more police stations are headed by women police officers and to give women an increasing sense of security in the capital. The Government will take appropriate action according to the law against all involved in 1984 riots.
The Government is aware of the suffering caused to citizens by the shortage of electric power and water. Inspite of the rapid growth that has taken place in the population of Delhi, our full efforts will be made to improve the supply of power and water to the people. The functioning of Delhi Vidyut Board is being reviewed and co-ordination between the Govt. of Delhi and the Board improved. Commissioning of new power plants in the pipeline will be expedited. The 300 MW ‘Pragati’ power project has been awarded to Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd. on turnkey basis and its techno-economic assessment is now pending with Central Electricity Authority, Govt. of India. The project is likely to be operational by summer 2000. The 421 MW Bawana Phase-I power project is being re-tendered shortly. Negotiations are in progress with the lowest bidder of 600-650 MW Bawana Phase-II Project. Strengthening of transmission and distribution system before onset of next summer is being given emphasis. Installation of 400 KV grid sub-station at Bamnauli and 220 KV sub-station at Naraina and Khanjawala will be completed before summer. Transformation capacity is also being added at 220 KV sub-stations in Park Street, Okhla and Wazirabad, and capacity is also being added at 66 and 33 KV levels in various localities. In addition, availability of critical items will be monitored closely to ensure that the break down of electricity supply is minimized. Billing for electricity supply will be the streamlined and paying centers provided in each assembly constituency for the convenience of consumers and also with better co-ordination with the banks. Efforts will be made for negotiating additional power supply for Delhi from the Northern Grid.
For augmenting water supply, Delhi Government is making all out efforts to persuade the Haryana Government to release more raw water for Delhi from the Western Yamuna Canal. Additional capacity for water treatment is being added at various locations in Delhi. The 40 MGD treatment plant at Nangloi is under test and trial run. The plant will benefit residents of Dwarka, West & North-West Delhi and South Delhi. The 20 MGD water treatment plant at Bawana is scheduled for completion by April, 2000. Plans have been drawn for adding treatment capacity of 240 MGD by constructing water treatment plants at Dwarka, Okhla and Sonia Vihar. Measures taken for immediate augmentation of water supply include installation of 200 additional tube wells & 2000 deep bore hand pumps in areas facing acute water shortage; raising the fleet of water tankers/trucks from 470 to 1000; construction of two Rainey Wells with 5 MGD capacity in the bed of the Yamuna River in Alipur; making 12 MGD Okhla water treatment plant fully operational; and commissioning of additional underground reservoirs and water boosting stations at various places in Delhi. The Government will also pursue release of additional water to Delhi from Tehri Dam.
The Government is committed to improve the health care system in Delhi. More hospitals and dispensaries will be provided, especially in rural areas. The number of beds in existing hospitals will be increased and other facilities improved to meet the growing needs of the people. Well-equipped mobile dispensaries will be regularly sent to slum areas, jhuggi jhonpri clusters and resettlements colonies. Adequate supply of medicines will be ensured in the hospitals. Measures will be taken to prevent food adulteration through strict enforcement of punitive laws. A drive will be launched to clean-up Delhi so as to drastically reduce the occurrence of epidemics. My Government requests for your cooperation and participation in this endeavour. Health Education will be further strengthened through a number of measures especially in areas inhabitated by poor. The health care system for school children will be improved and augemented.
The transport system in the capital needs special attention. The fleet of buses with Delhi Transport Corporation needs to be augmented to enable addition of bus routes and improved service. The augmentation will be done on the basis of safety, efficiency and economy. The Mass Rapid Transport System already under construction, is envisaged to significantly improve the public transportation network in the capital. It will be a non-polluting, efficient, speedy and accessible transport system and will be duly integrated with the other modes of transport. The Delhi Government is committed to help the scheme come up on schedule. Its construction is being given priority and all bottlenecks delaying its completion shall be removed at the earliest. The Government’s desire is to ensure that Shahdara to Tis Hazari section of the project, construction of which recently commenced, is operational by the year 2002. The Govt.of India is being requested to improve and strengthen the frequency of the Ring Railway and co-ordinate it with DTC operations, and with the MRTS, by making the latter system interchangeable with that of the railways. A special drive is being launched to improve and augment the road network in Delhi, which will improve the traffic situation. The Government will also speed up establishment of more ISBTs in Delhi.
Education shall be accorded high priority by my Government. We are distressed and worried over last year’s results and, therefore, are committed to improve the quality of education. Improvement of infrastructure in the schools is being emphasized. Replacement of all tented accommodation with semi-pucca/pucca structures is being expedited. The focus will remain on mass literacy, non-formal education and improvement of quality of education at elementary level. Schools will be encouraged to introduce computer-training. Library-cum-reading rooms are being provided in each assembly constituency. The vacant posts of teachers are being filled up expeditiously. The construction of a new building of the Delhi College of Engineering is being speeded up and facilities at the newly established Mahila Institute of Technology are being improved and strengthened.
The continued large immigration in Delhi has placed a heavy strain on all civic services. The limited addition of housing stock in the capital has caused the proliferation of unauthorized colonies, slums and jhuggi jhonpri Clusters. The Government will make efforts to augment the housing stock in the territory. A statutory Housing Board is being set up to enable the Government to participate directly in the construction of houses. Addition of houses by DDA is being actively pursued. It is distressing to note that several housing complexes are languishing for want of infrastructural facilities. To avoid this national waste of resources, we will take a more holistic view. Participation of private sector in removal of housing shortage will be welcomed, in accordance with the guidelines of Govt.of India. In order to minimize the migration into Delhi, the National Capital Region Plan will be implemented in full earnest and its objective of creation of a Common Economic Zone pursued.
The improvement of civic facilities for the urban poor in the national capital cannot be ignored any longer and needs special and continuous attention. The new Government will address this issue by the regularization of unauthorized colonies. Jhuggi Jhonpri Clusters have to be provided with adequate water, electricity and Sulabh Shouchalayas to improve living conditions. Re-settlement of slums is being given priority. Basic Urban services will be provided to Jhuggi Jhonpri Clusters till the relocation is made.
The prevention of pollution in the nation’s capital is another vital component for improving the life of the citizens of Delhi. The relocation of industries from non-conforming areas is being expedited so that parts of Delhi are freed from industrial pollution. Common Effluent Treatment Plants are being set up at the existing industrial estates in the capital. To expedite their setting up, I urge upon the concerned industries for their co-operation. Vehicular pollution in the capital will be checked by proper enforcement of laws. The new ISBTs being established will also help in reducing pollution on Delhi roads. Delhi Pollution Control Committee will also be strengthened to enable it to act effectively.
Efforts shall be made by Government to promote a healthy environment for the people of Delhi by taking active steps for de-polluting Yamuna River. The Yamuna Action Plan will be implemented vigorously. The development of the Reserve Forests in the capital will be ensured so that these green lungs of the city are improved and strengthened. Natural methods of protecting the environment like planting of trees in parks and open spaces owned by MCD, NDMC and other Government departments will be emphasized. A special drive will be launched for tree-plantation with due care for plant-mortality, while ensuring that species like neem and pipal are planted in greater numbers.
My Government will pay special attention to the weaker and vulnerable sections of the society-women, minorities, backwards and unorganized working population. Women will get due protection, opportunities and facilities for work, equal wage for equal work and will be provided sufficient accommodation and congenial working conditions. Effective steps will be taken to end educational and economic backwardeness among the minorities. Providing education and self-employment opportunities to Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and other backward classes will be a priority area for my Government. The Delhi Scheduled Castes Financial Development Corporation Ltd. will play a major role for improving the economic status of members of Scheduled Castes. Reservation in services will continue for other backward classes for protection of their interests. The Government will seriously implement schemes for the welfare of orphans, the destitutes, physically and mentally handicapped person, drug addicts, widows and the aged.
About half of the land area of Delhi is still rural in character. The development of rural villages in the capital is being speeded up through the ‘mini-master plan’ scheme, which is being reviewed to make it more effective. Adequate provision for roads, drinking water, hospitals and education is being made in rural areas to bridge the urban rural gap in quality of life.
The work of the Trans Yamuna Development Board is being reviewed and accordingly steps will be taken to strengthen its ability to resolve the specific problems of people residing in the Trans-Yamuna areas.
My Government is deeply concerned with the housing shortage for Government employees and will do everything to reduce shortages. The Government will prepare a comprehensive scheme of housing for its employees. Construction of new staff housing complexes at Rohini and Shalimar Bagh will be taken up expeditiously in the ensuing year. Efforts are also being made to upgrade the existing complexes through addition of new facilities.
My Government intends to infuse confidence and vigour in the capital’s economic life keeping in mind that trading is its life line. The Government will work towards removal of harassment and corruption and take all steps in this regard, including steps for reforming Sales Tax administration. We intend to plug loopholes and streamline the administration of our taxation department to improve tax collection. Efforts will be made to establish new wholesale markets in consultation with representatives of trade. The legitimate interests of the traders will be protected.
My Government is also concerned about the high unemployment among youth in the capital. Opportunities for self-employment in various households and small-scale industries would be provided and a simple procedure for taking its advantage will be prescribed. We will simplify procedures to ensure that benefit goes to the deserving youth. A new scheme will be prepared to provide youth with computers to help them to gain livelihood or to further help them in their professions. Other such schemes for self-employment are being prepared.
I have merely given an outline of the basic agenda of my Government. However, the list is not exhaustive and many other areas, which my Government intends to give priority to, are under scrutiny and programmes are being drawn for them. We will give a more detailed account of our ambitious plans during the budget session which will be called shortly.
I wish to conclude by enjoining upon the members to remember the oath that they have taken while being sworn-in as members of this august Assembly and resolve that the confidence reposed in them by the people will be re-paid through self-less dedication towards improving the quality of life of the citizens of Delhi.
I wish you all success in this endeavour.