Delhi underground

Delhi underground

It seems that a series of high profile catches by the Anti-Corruption Branch,which include police officers,assistant labour commissioners and transport officers,over the last year...

Cold sweat
It seems that a series of high profile catches by the Anti-Corruption Branch,which include police officers,assistant labour commissioners and transport officers,over the last year,has left many bureaucrats jittery. Additional Commissioner N Dilip Singh’s penchant of revealing all details to the media has further put them on the guard. Singh has been categorically asked to get all press releases whetted by the Vigilance Commissioner and not disclose anything to the press without prior permission.

‘Breaking’ admissions
TV news channels are not the only victims of the “Breaking News” syndrome. Viewers used to reading tickers for “breaking news” on the TV will find a similar ticker —believe it or not — on online nursery admissions forums in the city. These websites are outdoing each other in the race to be the first to provide information on nursery admissions. Two of them were at loggerheads recently,with one taking credit for breaking the news of the Sardar Patel Vidyalaya list.

Online opportunities
Nursery admissions have thrown up many business opportunities at a time of the global slowdown. Already,a handbook on nursery admissions is out,and an online parents’ forum is providing free counselling to harried parents on the subject of nursery admissions. Their motivation is to get every child admitted in school. But with admissions already wrapping up,the promise looks like a tall claim. Parents’ community portals are fast gaining popularity because of a need for coming together and sharing information. The many hits that these websites get could also translate into advertising revenues. But only time will tell how many will survive this nursery season.

Great Wall of Delhi
It might just be a seven-foot high wall for the uninitiated but the boundary wall to be built around the central ridge,near Dhaula Kuan,seems to have become more than that for the Delhi government. If the Great Wall of China was built by many rulers over hundreds of years,this wall,intended to protect the forest and ward off encroachers,is being built partially and gradually by different departments over the last couple of years. While the first few kilometres have been the handiwork of the Flood and Irrigation department,after the Forest Board said it couldn’t build the wall,the next three-odd km were built by the DSIDC. Dissatisfied,the Chief Minister then handed over the project to the New Delhi Municipal Council,which came up with a new design,only to find that the construction job had been handed back to the Flood and Irrigation Department once again. While the CM has decided to keep the new design for walls that will be built around the forest near North Campus,officials attending the innumerable meetings over the matter are now playing the guessing game over who will be given the project next.


Water politics
According to RWAs in Gurgaon,the shortage in water supply there is the handiwork of officials and what they call the “water mafia”. During the summer,the main canal supplying water to Gurgaon is breached at places to let the water flow into paddy fields. The associations say that on one hand,officials and the water mafia are paid by the farmers and on the other,they take exorbitant payments from residents who buy water from tankers priced anywhere between Rs 1,500 to 2,000,as against Rs 280 fixed by the state government.

A personal view
In a recent seminar on the global economic crisis at HIPA in Gurgaon,a senior government official said property rates in Gurgaon have not fallen,as builders and investors have invested a large amount of unaccounted for and ‘interest-free’ money here,and are preventing the rates from falling even during the ongoing slowdown. He,however,later added that this was only his personal opinion.

Candidly Dadwal
Here are a few catchy quotes from the annual police press conference addressed by Commissioner Y S Dadwal.
l “Policemen are not chowkidaars,to guard each and every car in the city,” Dadwal said on being questioned about the increase in motor vehicle thefts in the city.
“I am not aware of any open prostitution rackets in the city.”
l “We can’t disclose the details of any cases until they are solved. Should the officers talk to the media rather than carry out their investigations?” the police commissioner said on being asked as to how officers speak openly when calling press conferences and remain tight-lipped when incidents occur.
l “I say people who tell traffic cops that they know me or other senior police officers should be issued challans immediately.”
l “It’s ridiculous to compare the motor vehicle theft figures of Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Delhi,as reported by a newspaper,” Dadwal said after a reporter said the Islands reported very few vehicle thefts.
l “What was your question again?” after a reporter asked two controversial questions in quick succession.

A clean Yamuna by 2010
Call it the Commonwealth Games effect. Even though the Delhi Jal Board has had the mammoth task of cleaning up the Yamuna for the last 15 years,it seems to be getting its act together this time. A technical feasibility report of the agency’s latest interceptor sewage plan was submitted last month. Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit was given a presentation of the same on Friday. Senior officials say the plan is expected to show results by 2010 itself,as the 20 major drains will not empty directly into the river and only treated sewage will find its way into the Yamuna. Water from Renuka Dam in Himachal Pradesh is also expected to help Delhi deal with the additional water demand during the Games. “We are hopeful that the river will at least begin to live by 2010,” a senior official said.