Population is a major challenge for Delhi: Sheila DikshitMarch 28th, 2008 - 9:57 am ICT by admin
By Rajeev Ranjan Roy
New Delhi, March 28 (IANS) Dogged by complaints of water shortages, electricity outages and endless jams, Delhi’s Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit says the burgeoning population of the national capital is a major challenge to it becoming a world-class city. Dikshit, who is credited with giving new shape to the city that is hurtling towards the 2010 Commonwealth Games, said the city was certainly on its way to becoming a global city.
“But population is a major challenge. The load on existing infrastructure is increasing manifold with the population going up sharply,” Dikshit told IANS.
Dikshit, who will complete 10 years as chief minister in November, admitted “helplessness” in giving any deadline towards making Delhi a world-class city, but was optimistic that the goal was not too far off.
From 400,000 in 1901, Delhi’s population zoomed to 13.8 million in 2001. In 2006, the government’s own estimation put the figure at 16.5 million, going up to 19 million in 2011. Besides, it is estimated that 200,000-300,000 migrants a year settle in Delhi.
“Thus, keeping pace with the changing demography of the city is not an easy task. Ever since we came to power in 1998, we have been doing everything possible to change the city’s face by taking up several capacity building measures like the metro railway,” Dikshit said.
“Things will change a lot by 2010 when the city hosts the Commonwealth Games. All possible efforts are being made.
“Look at the kind of city we have today. Whether transport, education or health services, things have undergone a sea change. A number of flyovers and foot over-bridges have come as a boon for commuters and motorists,” she added.
The Congress leader’s long reign over Delhi has seen about 30 flyovers coming up, including the ones at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Dhaula Kuan and the Akshardham Temple crossings.
In view of the coming Commonwealth Games, the city government has drawn up a mega action plan for overhauling key facilities like transportation by upgrading roads and introducing new low floor buses.
Around 10,000 new low floor and standard buses will be added to the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) fleet in the next two years. New corridors for the bus rapid transit (BRT) are being created. The first BRT corridor from Ambedkar Nagar to the Moolchand Hospital stop, which has drawn a lot of flak, will be operational by June this year.
But much more needs to be done.
Pollution continues to be a major concern. The city’s latest Economic Survey puts vehicular population in Delhi at 5.1 million till March 2007 against 2.4 million in 1994-95.
Dikshit’s political opponents say the city’s growth leaves a lot to be desired.
“There is no blueprint to deal with the problem of waste management. The city generates around 7,000 million tonnes of solid waste every day. The government has failed to meet its power and water needs. The peak hour demand of 4,000 to 4,400 MW still eludes the people,” said Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) city unit chief Harshvardhan.
“The government’s own Economic Survey says the total water demand in 2006 was 4,090 million litres per day against the net supply of 2,461 million litres. At this rate of capacity building, Delhi will never become a world-class city,” he complained.
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