Bus corridor, Sixth Pay Commission major issues in New Delhi constituency

May 5th, 2009 - 4:25 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party New Delhi, May 5 (IANS) Congress party candidate for the New Delhi seat Ajay Maken has to contend with the electorate’s ire over the ever-jammed condition of the bus corridor in his constituency, but is banking on support from the large section of government employees after the Sixth Pay Commission salary hikes.
On the other hand, his main opponent Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate and former union minister Vijay Goel is making the most of the public frustration over the Bus Rapid Transit corridor - from Moolchand Hospital to Ambedkar Nagar. As a counter to the Six Pay Commission benefits he is proposing subsidised residential houses for retired government employees.

Maken, while defending the 5.6 km long BRT dedicated bus corridor, has suggested ways to improve the system. “The model does have certain loopholes but they can be removed after certain improvements,” Maken has said at public meetings.

He said he hoped all “glitches” found in the first corridor would be removed in future projects. He has suggested improvements, like increasing the number of foot over-bridges near the bus stops and making traffic “red-light free” for other vehicles - acknowledging the anger of car and two-wheeler passengers over the long waiting at signals on the BRT.

“There should be enough parking space around the BRT corridor. The doors of low-floor buses plying on the existing corridor should be on the right side as the bus stops are in the middle of the road,” he suggests. The BRT has bus stops in the middle of the road.

Warding off the BJP’s criticism over the bus corridor, Maken said: “Most BJP-ruled states are implementing the BRT plan, which is being promoted by the Urban Development Ministry. The BJP has no right to rake it up as an issue against the Congress in Delhi.”

He is hoping the Sixth Pay Commission award will get the support of government employees, who got a substantial pay raise. Crediting the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government with bringing out the pay commission report, Maken said it has helped government employees cope with the price hikes.

But the BJP is unwilling to let the Congress take the credit for the pay commission benefits. Goel, terming the commission award as the government’s “carrot and stick” policy, has been dwelling on its “anomalies”. “On the face of it, the salary raise sounds great. The Congress extracted a lot of mileage out of the Sixth Pay Commission recommendations but to their dismay, the employees have realized that much of the arrears (and in some cases part of the hiked salary too) has gone to the Income tax department,” he said.

In a bid to tap the niche vote bank of government employees in the constituency, Goel has promised that top priority will be accorded to their interests, specially on housing. Goel has gone to the extent of saying that all government employees living in the New Delhi area ought to be allotted residential units with assured water, power, sewage connections.

“Government employees pay a hefty amount of money in terms of house rent and yet the day they retire, most of them have no dwelling to call their own. I will make all out efforts to ensure that retiring government employees get residential units at subsidised prices,” Goel told IANS.

Post delimitation, areas of R.K. Puram and Delhi Cantt have fallen within the constituency. The other areas are Greater Kailash, Karol Bagh, Patel Nagar and Rajinder Nagar.

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