Monday, August 16, 2010

Now New Deadline New Deadline: The Dead.....line

After the chief minister’s office issued orders last month setting July 31 as the deadline for stopping all digging work, the Delhi government’s urban development department on Wednesday issued orders banning road cutting exercises for any kind of work by any agency from August 20. While the July 31 deadline set by the CM’s office was made to sound sacrosanct, urban development minister AK Walia’s orders setting August 20 as the deadline for banning all road cutting work is likely to lead to confusion.

That the order setting July 31 as a deadline failed to have any effect came through when a statement issued by Delhi urban development minister Dr AK Walia on Wednesday said the minister had expressed concern over ongoing road cutting in Delhi.

On August 3, Times City had reported that despite chief minister Sheila Dikshit’s order to stop all digging work in the city by July 31, civic agencies, discoms, telecom companies etc were still taking up digging activity on new roads.

The release from the CM’s office had clearly stated that there would be no deviations in deadlines. Times City, however, in the first week of August, found digging taking place all across the city. In some areas like GK-I, GKII, Panchsheel Park, near India Gate, Pamposh Enclave, Daryaganj etc, works related to laying of underground wires, installation of streetlights, and streetscaping had just been initiated.

‘‘It has been observed that in certain cases, road cutting is being undertaken even after completion of work,” minister for urban development AK Walia said on Wednesday, and directed his department to issue strict instructions to put a ban on road cutting with effect from August 20, 2010 in Delhi.

‘‘Road cutting is also resulting in damage to footpaths and roads. It has also been observed that road cutting is being done by discoms, MTNL and ECIL. They are being exhorted to finish work by August 16,” Walia said. He further stated that rampant road cutting will not only damage the image of the city but also prove to be harmful to recently built infrastructure in the capital. He underlined the need for clean and longer-lasting infrastructure keeping in view the large influx of tourists and visitors expected during the Commonwealth Games. As the Games will be about 40 days away from August 20, no further permission will be granted for any road cutting, Walia added, underlining the sanctity of the August 20 deadline.

Dr Walia has also instructed MCD and Delhi Police to strictly enforce the provisions of the Delhi Defacement Act, which envisages stringent action including hefty fines and imprisonment. He further directed the enforcement agencies to ensure that no poster, banner or wall writing should be visible in the city.