Beckons Indian students to UK, calls for greater economic ties

London Mayor Boris Johnson, who sees a huge business potential in India with its 1.2 billion and rapidly increasing population, raised issues relating to Yamuna river pollution, Delhi Metro project as also the scope for expanding the reach of British higher education institutes during a meeting with the Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit at the Delhi Secretariat on Monday.

Accompanied by British High Commissioner James Bewan and an eight-member delegation, Mr. Johnson referred to the pollution in the Yamuna and spoke about how London was yet to complete the work on the Thames project, which seeks to make the river clean and safe, by providing a separate sewerage system underneath the river to dump the city waste directly into the sea.

The Mayor also took up the cause of the large number of higher education institutes and universities in London that offer more than 30,000 courses, among the Indian student community. Mr. Johnson made a pitch for them as he realised that the scenario has changed somewhat in the last three to four decades in the wake of stiff competition coming from the U.S.

He also offered expertise in transport, traffic, waste management and private sector financing for infrastructure projects. In particular, he made an offer of private financing for the expansion of Delhi Metro project and the commissioning of Monorail.

For her part, Ms. Dikshit said the Delhi Government would take an appropriate action only after submission of a detailed proposal of providing expertise in the field concerned.

She apprised them of the existing administrative set up in Delhi and raised the issue of foreign direct investment in retail.

Delhi, she said, was a large trading centre and was dominated by non-polluting service industries. On the Yamuna pollution, she said the Delhi Government was working on a plan to install interceptor sewers so that the flow of pollutants into the river could be curbed.

She also mentioned how Delhi catered to a floating population of around five lakh each day apart from its own. Similarly, she said, the city catered to a large number of patients coming in from other States.

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