Dwarka-A Test Case for Local Governance

Hon`ble Chief Minister,

Dwarka- the sub-city of Delhi has been planned for an overall population of 10 lakhs in an area of 5648 ha.Existing built-up area is 1668 ha.The rest of the area is to be developed in two phases.In phase I,1964 ha & in phase II,1996 ha.There would be 29 sectors which would house 2 lakhs families.Cooperative Group Housing form the bulk of housing component.Besides, there are DDA Group housing & houses in the urban villages where also, there has been spurt of housing activity up to 4-5 levels.Each sector has been planned for a population of about 30,000, in an area of 81 ha[900 by 900 m]

Delhi Development Authority[DDA] who planned this sub-city did due diligence while planning this area & made provisions for infrastructure including social infrastructures,open spaces,basic services, schools,hospitals,sports complexes,golf course, MRT & spacing of their stations et al.

Spaces were set apart for institutional areas,five-star hotels,hospitals too.Thus, this sub-city, at present, looks much different from the rest of Delhi-an area of high rises apartments & broad avenues———

Because of well planned spaces-high-rise properly constructed CGHS housing blocks interspersed with DDA flats, wide roads,sufficient greenery,nice schools, well constructed malls , shopping centres,sports complex & promise to provide adequate quantity of potable water, well maintained drainage & sewerage system, the area has over the years attracted many many educated professionasl,govt officers-both working / retired,corporates,businessmen & well off families.In the last four to five years,the sub city has filled up fast!

This has also resulted/is resulting in, residents-woes of many kinds-shortage of water on one side & increase in the number of private tankers supplying water-sometime of doubtful quality as reported, to most of the CGHS/other residents,ill-maintained green spaces/parks,shopping centres/malls,big encroachment by shopkeepers both in malls/shopping centres,huge parking woes around markets/malls & arbitrarily toeing away of vehicles causing big inconvenience to even law abiding citizens,garbage mismanagement,poor management of maintenance works on roads & by various utilities-BSES,MTNL,mobile,water,sewerage etc etc, chaos around MRT stations- haphazard parking of e rickshaws,rickshaws, to name a few.

Traffic jams have also become another daily feature of this sprawling sub city predominantely in the morning/evening, esp, at the two exit corridors connecting NH8!Cases of law & order-snatching, ,speeding resulting in accidents etc etc also keep happening ,now, with regularity.

Arguments can be /are given that it happens/can not be avoided, when population grows!But, then, where is the planning,what about effective governance & taking into confidence the community & tapping into their immense potential in the issue of governance as has also been rightly mentioned in the Manifesto of AAP party.

As it is, the civil society/community of Dwarka is already very active/ alert/vigilant in keeping hawk eye on the upkeep of the basic services/parks/roads/green spaces/garbage management & are always eager to provide their help to the concerned authorities but it is a sad fact that sizable percentage of their energies are dissipated in chasing the concerned authorities!!?

Nevertheless, Dwarka Forum,Sukh Dukh Kay Saathi[SDKS], Senior Citizens Association,Ladies associations & many other civil society groups operating in this area, are doing in their respective ways, commendable work in keeping their respective areas etc well maintained by forging close relations with the staff of the municipal/utility agencies/police!!The results of their efforts are visible.

Media & portals like Dwarka Parichay are also playing very useful role to complement the efforts of the authorities/community.

But,the urgent need is for the Delhi Govt/ SDMC/DDA to play more pro-active role in aggressively seeking the help/views of the community.There is an urgent need of starting One-Window System of grievance redressal.Besides, the Delhi Govt need to have a Directorate of Community Welfare/Skilling in Local Governance & their own Radio FM/TV channels to redefine the relationship between elected representatives,officials & the community.

There are many many ways to make it SMART sub-city,too?!

As per my long experience in municipal governance,earlier, it is done, the better it would be for Dwarka & thus, for all the stakeholders of Dwarka including Delhi Govt & the other concerned authorities.Infact, Dwarka model, then can be replicated in other areas of Delhi,without much ado!?

With very best wishes for your endeavours

Vijay K. Saluja

Senior Fellow-Institute of Social Sciences,New Delhi www.issin.org
Director-Giraffe Heroes India www.giraffe.org
Ex Chief Engineer[civil] New Delhi Municipal Council