A day after heavy rain led to waterlogging across the capital, the Petitions Committee of the Delhi Assembly attacked L-G Anil Baijal and the government’s bureaucrats over desilting of drains. Roads wider than 60 feet come under the jurisdiction of the Delhi government’s Public Works Department, while the narrower ones come under the MCDs. On Friday, all three civic bodies had maintained that the bulk of waterlogging was witnessed on roads under the PWD’s jurisdiction.
In June last year, the Petitions Committee had inspected drains and found that most of the status reports filed by the civic bodies and the PWD in the Assembly and High Court were far from reality. It had recommended action against the then PWD Secretary Ashwani Kumar and other officers, as well as a probe by the Vigilance Department and the Anti-Corruption Branch.
Addressing a press conference on Saturday, Saurabh Bhardwaj, chairperson of the committee, alleged, “Despite the elected government agreeing to implement the recommendations, the L-G office openly helped the officers to not implement it.”
Bhardwaj also shared an RTI that purportedly showed Baijal had permitted Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash and Kumar to challenge the committee’s report in the High Court.
“The RTI exposed that the L-G had permitted the CS and PWD secretary to challenge the Petition Committee in High Court. It also shows that the lawyers representing IAS officers, who defended corruption of these officers, were paid huge fee from taxpayers’ money of Delhi, on directions of the L-G,” he alleged.
While Prakash did not comment, a senior officer alleged, “It is very unfortunate that senior bureaucrats are being targeted like this. If it’s a political matter, why drag officers into it?”
Hitting out at the AAP for its desilting claims, BJP General Secretary Ravinder Gupta alleged, “The AAP is straightaway responsible for it because all the bigger roads and nallahs are under its jurisdiction. The water from small drains will not go into bigger drains if they are clogged. CM Arvind Kejriwal has shown desilting of drains only on paper, while his reality was exposed during Friday’s rain.”