The offices of the Delhi Lokayukta and the Public Grievance Commission have together come to the aid of the residents of Bijwasan village and surrounding areas in South-West Delhi as due to their orders and directions the release of funds for the much-delayed road over-bridge and underpass at the Najafgarh-Bijwasan railway level crossing at Bijwasan have finally taken place.
Justice Sarin in a recent order expressed pleasure that due to the persuasion of these two watchdogs, the funds have been released expeditiously for the project. He said the counsel for the Urban Development Department of the Delhi Government had informed his office on October 21 that the Delhi Cabinet had on September 29 given its approval and subsequently the Lieutenant-Governor had also sanctioned the release of funds following which the South Delhi Municipal Corporation received Rs.15 crore on October 10.
“This is one of the few cases where the Delhi Government has responded positively and enabled the Lokayukta to be an ally in promoting good governance in a positive manner. With the release of funds, the public purpose has been achieved,’’ Mr. Justice Sarin said while dismissing the complaint, after the complainant concurred in not proceeding with it.
Earlier, the Lokayukta had in August issued a notice to the Principal Secretary of Urban Development and Finance departments of the Delhi Government to make available records in relation to grant and sanction of funds for the project following a complaint by area BJP MLA Sat Prakash Rana alleging deliberate delay by Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit in facilitating the work “due to political reasons”.
Mr. Rana had said the ROB project was passed in 2006 and was to be executed through the MCD West Zone with funds provided by the Delhi Government. The project should have been completed in December, 2011 but due to the delays entailed in release of funds, the project cost shot up from Rs.58 crore to Rs.132.70 crore.
Mr. Rana said he had also complained to the Public Grievances Commission about the delay and claimed that due to the non-release of funds by the Chief Minister, the Najafgarh-Kapashera road remained blocked causing immense inconvenience and harassment to the residents.
Public Grievance Commission chairperson and former Chief Secretary P.K. Tripathi had in September this year observed in the case that there might be “some conspiracy or vested interests working against the interest of the government and public revenue” and that the Commission will “weigh the option of referring this whole matter to the Central Bureau of Investigation”.
Mr. Tripathi had further stated that “as a result of this, the people of the village are facing great hardship for the past two years as they have to take a detour of 8-9 km along with their cattle to go to the other side of the railway line”.
Mr. Rana had also noted that to ameliorate the sufferings of the people he had urged the Northern Railway authorities to provide an alternative railway crossing to the villagers till the construction of the flyover and underpass were completed.
The PGC convened 13 meetings in the matter, and in July this year even urged the Chief Secretary to expedite the approval to the Cabinet note. The Hindu had on March 11 this year reported how the construction of the Bijwasan rail over-bridge had led to the division of the village in South-West Delhi.