The Aam Aadmi Party does not believe in competitive politics over development of public infrastructure, but the rate of flyover construction since 2015 has been faster than it was under the Sheila Dikshit government, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said Tuesday.
Inaugurating the RTR flyover, which missed five deadlines, Kejriwal sought to “deflate the myth” that infrastructure has not been a focus area of the AAP government. “We have worked so much, but we know that politics is not our area of strength,” he said.
The construction of the RTR (Rao Tula Ram) elevated corridor began in 2014. It had an initial deadline of two years, but a series of hurdles, including litigations by a few local residents, derailed the project, leading to cost escalation and delays. “The Sheila Dikshit administration built 70 flyovers in 15 years, while we built 23 in just four and a half years. While this is not a competition, we have built almost double of what the Sheila Dikshit government built on a yearly basis,” he said.
The 2.7-km-long three-lane flyover stretches between Munirka and Subroto Park. Built at a cost of Rs 205 crore, it is aimed at making the commute to the airport easier while also bringing down travel time between South Delhi and Gurgaon. “People tend to think that we have done a lot of work in spheres of education, health, water and electricity. But when I was discussing this with PWD engineers, we realised that we have made huge progress in infrastructure as well,” the CM said.
Also Read | UP to Bengal, workers who made it happen
Referring to a row involving Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari during the inauguration of the Signature Bridge, Kejriwal said he finds it amusing that people who have not been in power in Delhi for the last two decades are claiming credit for development work.
“I accept that we have worked a lot, but we don’t know how to do politics. This is something we failed to learn. Recently we completed the Signature Bridge in North East Delhi. While the inauguration of the Signature Bridge was taking place, a leader from the opposition party was busy hurling bottles on the stage, where we were seated. He also went on to claim that he got the Signature Bridge made,” he said.
PWD Minister Satyendar Jain, who was also present, spoke about the hurdles the department had to face while building the flyover. “The workers could work only on a 6-7 metre wide area and only a six-hour window was available per day. There were sewer lines, cables, pipelines that could not be disconnected,” he said.
AAP MLAs from nearby areas, including Somnath Bharti (Malviya Nagar) and Parmila Tokas (RK Puram), shared the stage, which was erected near the arm of the corridor which branches out to Munirka flyover.
The MLAs brought AAP workers from their constituencies to the event. Premchand, who works in a pest control agency, said, “I am a resident of Moti Bagh. This flyover will make it easier for me to travel to different locations. Plus it is important to decongest the road as our area is heavily polluted.”