Najeeb Jung, Lieutenant Governor of Delhi which is now under President’s rule, has dealt with three political dispensations in the past seven months — UPA-2 that appointed him, the AAP state government, and now the BJP-led government at the Centre. Edited excerpts from a conversation at Raj Niwas.
Delhi is now the second most populous city, after Tokyo. Should its ability to attract migrants flatter those who run the city, or is it a cause for worry ?
The growing pace of the population causes concern. The government must provide for those who come here to see their dreams fulfilled. And of course we need more urbanisation. That is why this government has announced the need for 100 smart cities. Like in Europe, people can come to cities to work but then go back to their lives and enjoy the benefits that living away from a city has to offer, like good, clean air and water.
You were appointed by UPA-2, you were LG when AAP formed the government, and now NDA is in power. What has been your biggest political challenge?
I was never persuaded by UPA-2, AAP or any other government to be motivated politically. The Constitution is our Bible and it is kept on my table. There has been no political challenge, but yes, many administrative challenges. After President’s rule, our role expanded… Cleaning up of hospitals is on in a big way, and I have sent out secretary-level officers to help improve things. We want to make JP Hospital and Guru Tegh Bahadur Hospital model hospitals… The cleaning up of nullahs and storm drains started early. So do roads fill up? Yes, but not as much as before. Actually citizens have concreted the city in a brutal fashion, blocking inlets and nullahs.
This is a sociological issue, how to get citizens to help change things. In nursery admissions, we have tried to ensure more equitable systems through lottery and the poorest of the poor have got admission. My own private secretary could not manage admission, but two clerks in Jamia got their children through in Modern School, Barakhamba Road, because of the lottery. Police sensitisation is going on, and as we speak, 3,000 women constables are being recruited.
Rapes may not have stopped but we have stepped up the process of taking action… We get on an average about 25,000 calls to the PCR daily on various issues, and about 7,000 of them are responded to and acted upon. Even on Shab-e-Baraat this year, we clamped down and there was no badtamizee. All social and religious occasions can be enjoyed but within continued…
Birla said her campaign this time is “very similar” to the last time.