Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and Union Urban Development Minister Kamal Nath agree that Delhi must be decongested

Union Urban Development Minister Kamal Nath and Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit may not agree entirely on whether Delhi should grow vertically, but on Monday both concurred that the city needs to be unburdened.

“There is a need to decrease the load on Delhi. There are a lot of people who cometo Delhi for work and use the infrastructure,” Mr. Nath said after chairing a meeting of the National Capital Region Planning Board.

He said Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan should focus on building more hospitals and schools to discourage people from converging on Delhi and to help reduce pressure on the health sector.

“To cater to the continuous inflow of migrant population to Delhi, States have also been asked to build 24-hour shelters. These holding areas will be built using funds given by the Union Ministry of Housing and Poverty Alleviation, which will contribute 50 per cent of the total expense, 20 per cent will be given by the NCR Planning Board and the States will have to shell out 30 per cent,” the Minister said.

Action plan

Expressing concern over an increasing number of students and patients coming from the neighbouring States, Ms. Dikshit has urged the NCR Planning Board and Union UD Ministry to devise an action plan for providing quality services in satellite towns.

Hospitals in the NCR region should be upgraded in capacity and service profile to provide advanced treatment so that there is a more rational distribution of patient-load in the region. The governments of U.P. and Haryana must commission more hospitals with advanced treatment facility, Ms. Dikshit said.

She has also asked the Board to come out with a set of guidelines for disposal of waste in Delhi in collaboration with U.P. and Haryana. Delhi generates around 9,000 metric tonnes of solid waste per day.

The Chief Minister also pointed out that even though the number of night shelters in the city has gone up from 30 to 190, most of these are running above capacity. In the absence of land and owing to the inability to construct more night shelters in Delhi, Ms. Dikshit has sought a unified strategy for NCR States so that more night shelters can be created in the satellite towns of Delhi.

Ms. Dikshit also raised the issue of delay in commissioning the Western Peripheral Expressway from Kundli to Palwal via Manesar.

“The UD Minister Kamal Nath has decided to hold a meeting at the earliest to resolve the impasse. The meeting will be attended by the Chief Ministers of Delhi and Haryana and representatives of the Monitoring Committee appointed by the Supreme Court,” a Delhi Government official said.

On the issue of constructing high-rises in the city, Ms. Dikshit, who had recently made a comment against the city going vertical, said there needs to be proper planning on where such constructions can take place. She said high-rises cannot be built in the city centres but can be planned in the outer areas and that Delhi’s green character has to be maintained.