The Delhi government and the Lieutenant Governor’s office appear to be locked in a tussle, with letters and press releases — over the issue of traffic bottlenecks — being exchanged. Rebutting the government’s suggestion that it is being kept in the dark on the issue, the L-G on Monday claimed that a cabinet minister had attended meetings and even offered “useful suggestions” to fix traffic bottlenecks.
Last week, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had written to the chief secretary to prepare a list of traffic bottlenecks in the capital.
The next day, Delhi L-G Anil Baijal responded to media reports and said the issue was “already a top priority” and that congestion points had been identified. Baijal also said the list had been sent to Kejriwal’s office, which responded the next day that neither the CM nor his ministers had “any information” about this.
On Monday, the L-G office issued a statement that Baijal had written to the CM expressing “surprise” over Kejriwal’s “perception that the elected government was not made aware of work done on resolving traffic bottlenecks”. The statement added that the L-G informed Kejriwal “about details of meetings attended” by the PWD Minister and “information received by the ministers’ offices regarding the issue of traffic bottlenecks”.
While the relationship between L-G Baijal and Kejriwal is more amiable than the one between the CM and former L-G Najeeb Jung, the tussle for power between the two has been steadily increasing. Take, for instance, Kerjiwal’s letter to the L-G on June 16 requesting him “most humbly” to “meet the public during the hour” between 10 am and 11 am “without appointment” to “hear public grievances”. This, sources said, has not gone down well with the L-G’s office.
The statement from the L-G office added, “This statement about the elected government being kept in dark does not appear to be borne out as per facts that were detailed in the letter today to the Chief Minister, wherein it was informed by the L-G that the minutes of the very first meeting he chaired to review the submissions of the six Task Forces on March 28, 2017, were endorsed to the Secretary to Minister (Transport).” During the meeting, it was decided to identify “four of five plot corridors” for “immediate action”, it said.
The statement added that the L-G also chaired another meeting on May 16, focussing “specially” on two pilot corridors — one at Aurobindo Marg and another near Savitri Flyover. As per the L-G’s office, the minister “not only attended this meeting” but “gave useful suggestions”.
The Chief Minister’s office refused to comment on the issue.