Politics takes toll of DJB

NEW DELHI, JULY 6. Intra-party politics in the Congress(I) seems to have taken a heavy toll of functioning of the Delhi Jal Board where developmental and administrative decision making process has come to a standstill. For the past four months nothing has moved due to failure of the Congress(I) to nominate new members leading to lack of quorum at Board meetings.

The squabble over the names of three members to be nominated from among the MLAs is being blamed for the present mess. The term of three old members expired on May 4. Since then these posts have been lying vacant. The party general secretary and Delhi incharge, Mr. Kamal Nath, with whom the matter is pending, has failed to arrive at any decision. Unconcerned, Mr. Nath has been holding on to the names suggested by the Chief Minister, Ms.Sheila Dikshit, and has found little time to sort out the matter.

As a result no DJB meeting has taken place during the past four months. A number of decisions relating to drinking water projects, replacement of old pipes, improvement in the sewage system and issues relating to floating of tenders for various projects have been awaiting approval from the Board. ``It is not possible to hold a meeting of the Jal Board without the presence of these three members. They have to vote. Party leaders should restrain from politics in matters concerning the people and development. This is only harming the interest of the common man a senior official remarked.

The Chief Minister had suggested Dr. S. C. Vats and Mr. Vir Singh, Congress along with independent member, Mr. Mateen Ahmed. The matter was initially held up as the Speaker Chaudhary Prem Singh, whose approval is needed, has favoured the continuation of the outgoing member Mr. Surinder Kumar, a proposal not acceptable to the Chief Minister. Under the rules, no member can have a second consecutive term. In addition, the rivals of the Chief Minister are understood to have prevailed over Mr. Nath that Ms. Dikshit had been packing the various Corporation and Board with her supporters.

But the fact is that even if some others are to be nominated, the party general secretary should hurry up with the process. Many believe that Mr. Nath's interference in the administrative matters was causing more harm to the party's image. ``It is not the job of the party general secretary to interference in the day to day functioning of the government. This political interference will do no good for the government or the party. If Mr. Nath is so keen on doing something good, then he should hurry up with the constitution of a new team of the Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee(I),'' a loyalist stated.

Interestingly, while Mr. Nath has been dabbling in the government affairs, he has failed to take any such steps to strengthen the party set-up. ``It is the job of the party general secretary to ensure smooth functioning of the party and that the programmes and polices of the party and its leadership along with the achievements of the government are properly highlighted,'' another leader added.