Following complaints from the East and North municipal bodies about the bad condition of PWD drains, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has written to the chief secretary, asking him to initiate proceedings of “dereliction of duty” against Public Works Department secretary Ashwani Kumar. Reacting to the letter, Kumar told The Indian Express that he “had visited the drains even before the CM’s orders” and that “he was aware of the ground realities”.
The CM’s note to the chief secretary was written last Thursday, after he received letters from mayors of both East and North MCDs. “They (civic bodies) have given a list of PWD drains, which are in very bad condition… Personally ensure that the PWD secretary visits all drains listed by East and North Delhi mayors by this Sunday and ensure their desilting,” the letter said. The directions also specified that “visits by juniors will not be accepted”. In an order issued earlier this month, Kejriwal had asked the PWD secretary to personally supervise the cleaning of drains in the capital before monsoon to ensure roads aren’t flooded.
“It is sad that he openly and brazenly violated the directions of the CM himself. He refuses to step out his air-conditioned office, even when the health of the entire population is at stake,” the CM said. Kejriwal said he was “told that barring accompanying the PWD minister and some petition Committee members, he (Kumar) has not visited any drain”. Kumar, however, said it was his “duty” to furnish the report of the drain clearing process, “whether it is to the chief secretary, the minister, the CM or the L-G”. “I welcome the scrutiny, the more the scrutiny, the better work will be… I know the facts of the matter. I am ready to brief the CM….We know our job… Moreover, if he has a solution, he can tell me and the department,” he said.
Last month, Kumar had sought details of all drains that have been desilted and cleaned so far. “Every official has to submit desilting plans for drains in their areas by June 15. If there is some delay due to any reason, the report should be submitted by June 30,” he had said.