The Budget Session of the Delhi Assembly got off to a tumultuous start on Monday with the Lieutenant-Governor Tejendra Khanna in his address spelling out the various projects being undertaken by the Congress Government for the upcoming Commonwealth Games in October and the opposition BJP protesting against the policies of the Government that had led to increase in prices, tariffs and corruption.
As soon as Mr. Khanna began his address, the BJP legislators led by Leader of Opposition V. K. Malhotra stood up donning vest-like posters with slogans that held the Delhi Government responsible for the increase in water and power tariffs and corruption in the name of Commonwealth Games. The BJP members also raised slogans stating that “a government which is inefficient should be changed’’.
Undeterred by the protests, Mr. Khanna continued reading the address. He spoke of how Delhi has got the “honour to host one of the biggest sporting extravaganzas of the world’’ and declared that many agencies are involved in the preparation of the Games and an administrative mechanism has been put in place to ensure effective coordination.
He said the Delhi Government was entrusted the responsibility to construct or upgrade four stadia and while two – Talkatora and Ludlow Castle – have been completed, Chhatrasal Stadium and Shivaji Stadium were nearing completion.
“The Thyagaraja Sporting Complex, which will be the venue for netball, is the first stadium in India to have all green building features,’’ he said.
With road transport assuming a crucial role for the event, Mr. Khanna said all major roads were being upgraded. Besides, 24 flyovers and bridges and 18 road and rail under-bridges are also being constructed and of these seven have been completed.
Three multi-level parking lots are also being constructed in the New Delhi Municipal Council area on public private partnership basis at KBS Marg, K.G. Marg and Sarojini Nagar.
Mr. Khanna said in Phase II of Delhi Metro another 125 km of corridor would be added to the existing network. All the new routes are expected to be commissioned before the Games, he said, adding that public transport would also get a boost as 1,550 low-floor buses have already been introduced and another 2235 are expected to be added before the sporting event.
Similarly for the Games, he said, a total of 410 km of roads are being provided upgraded streetlights and much of this work has been completed. Also street-scaping was being done on 48 km of roads around the Commonwealth Games venues and five million potted plants would be placed to enhance the green cover.
As for environment conservation, Mr. Khanna informed that as per Forest Survey of India report 2009, Delhi’s green cover has increased to 300 sq km from 30 sq km in 1998 and that the Delhi Government had banned manufacturing of plastic bags of less than 40 microns.
To provide uninterrupted power supply during the Games, various projects like 1,500 MW Pragati III gas-based power project at Bawana, 1,500 MW coal-based power project at Jhajjar in Haryana and 108 MW gas-based plant at Rithala are being constructed. Similarly to augment water supply, he said, the water treatment capacity is being increased from 790 million gallons per day to 826 MGD by commissioning Nangloi treatment plant and recycling plants at Haiderpur, Bhagirathi and Wazirabad. Besides 28 of the 53 under-ground reservoirs being constructed by the Delhi Jal Board have been completed.
On the other issues, Mr. Khanna said international level tourist information centres would be set up ahead of the Commonwealth Games. The Tourism Department would also upgrade its website for facilitating tourism.
In a new initiative to make the judicial system proactive, he said, the Government has initiated the alternative dispute resolution mechanism whose primary objective is to avoid costly litigation and to promote the concept of ‘Access to Justice for All.’ For this a Delhi Dispute Resolution Society has also been established under the Law Department.