The Centre will soon convene a meeting with Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung to resolve the issue of procuring land for developing public amenities and services in Delhi.
Union Minister for Urban Development Venkaiah Naidu on Thursday said he believed that land should be made available to the Delhi government at nominal rates for creating basic infrastructure such as schools and hospitals.
Naidu’s statement came in the wake of a detailed discussion on the issue with Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia.
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Kejriwal, who has been engaged in a prolonged tussle with the Centre and Jung over jurisdiction issues, told Naidu that prohibitive land costs are an impediment in providing public utilities, services and transport in the city.
In its pre-election promises, the AAP had announced that it would start 20 new colleges and 500 schools all across the capital once it came to power.
However, land issues are dealt with by the Delhi Development Authority. The DDA reports not to the state government but to the Union Urban Development Ministry. This means that the state is not only required to purchase land from the DDA to meet its requirements but also has to get the Union Ministry’s approvals for most land-related issues.
Kejriwal told Naidu that the state government cannot afford to buy land from the DDA at the rates currently prescribed. “Kejriwal stressed on the need to introduce a new fleet of DTC buses, especially with a view to check pollution and decongest the roads by promoting public transport. He pointed out that this can’t be implemented until the state government has enough land in its possession to construct bus depots,” a ministry official said.
Officials added that Kejriwal also discussed the issue of facilitating an easy flow of finance from the Urban Development fund for projects in Delhi.