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As Delhi PWD Minister, I Was Never Called for Any G20 Prep Meeting, Inspection: Atishi – News18

Delhi PWD Minister Atishi Saturday hit back at Lieutenant Governor V K Saxena’s allegation that AAP ministers attended just one G20 preparatory meet, and said “had he involved us in the preparations, we would have definitely done better”.

The minister also said the AAP dispensation asked for Rs 927 crore from the Centre for the G20 Summit meeting preparations but did not get a single penny. However, she insisted now is not the time for a credit war.

“This is not the time to say this is their work or this is our work. It is a matter of pride for the country that we are hosting the G20 Summit. I feel that if we work together, it will be good for the country,” Atishi told PTI in an interview.

With the G20 Summit just days away, a political slugfest has erupted in Delhi with the BJP claiming the work has been done by the Centre, and the AAP rebutting it.

“Till date, the Centre has not not given us a single penny for G20. We had asked for Rs 927 crore but we did not get anything. We didn’t make it an issue thinking it will reflect poorly on our country. The BJP and the LG are saying they have done everything. This shows their arrogance,” the public works department minister added.

Earlier in the day, L G VK Saxena told PTI in an interview that Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal attended one G20 meeting and after that no AAP minister came. “I believe we should work together. But I have no grudges,” he said.

Atishi countered the statement saying, “It is very surprising he is saying this. As the PWD minister, I was never called for any meeting or inspection. He didn’t call the mayor during meetings or inspection of MCD areas.

“Had he called, I would have definitely gone. Officers would tell us about the meetings and we would give them permission. I was never invited for any meetings or inspection. We have made full efforts. All our officers have been on the job,” she said.

Asked if there was a lack of coordination, she said, “Had he involved us in the preparations we would have definitely done better. I could not have gone for the meetings or inspection uninvited. We always wanted coordination.” Nonetheless, the department has done the “best” horticulture work and “best” branding, she claimed.

Reacting to the controversy over the installation of ‘Shivling’-shaped fountain, she said they were installed in an area that comes under the Delhi cantonment Board which is under the Centre.

“All the money was spent by NHAI and supervised by the LG. Your road, your money your work but if something goes wrong, it is PWD’s fault. When he committed a mistake by getting the fountains installed and hurting the religious sentiments of people, he could have just gone and apologised saying it was not intentional.

“At that time, doing a turnaround and saying it is PWD’s fault shows the narrow-mindedness,” she said.

“The AAP dispensation did its work with full dedication and it was painful that the BJP and LG were making it a political issue,” she said.

She also strongly countered the LG’s statement that the ministers of Delhi government have only recently started carrying out inspections of roads.

“When Manish Sisodia was the PWD minister, he would carry out inspections of stretches. Even the chief minister has also visited them. As the PWD minister, I have also inspected roads and waterlogged stretches during floods,” she said.

Atishi said roads in other parts of Delhi will also be beautified.

Many areas of the national capital were inundated in July due to a rise in the water level in the Yamuna, leading to a situation where 27,000 people had to be evacuated from the floodplains.

The areas of Rajghat and Pragati Maidan Tunnel, which will be frequented by delegates during the summit, were flooded too, raising concerns about the preparations.

Talking specifically about the Rajghat, she said she did not want to get into whose fault led to its inundations.

“The CPWD maintains Rajghat that is spread over 250 acre. Unfortunately it is bowl-shaped and there was no drainage system. The centre and the Delhi government agencies like DJB, PWD, MCD worked together to clear the Rajghat,” she said.

Explaining the government’s plans to tackle waterlogging in case of a heavy downpour during the Summit days on September 9-10, she said mobile temporary pumping sets have been arranged.

“One of the major reasons tunnels around Pragati Maidan were flooded was that construction was going on at the ITPO. The ITPO contractor had not connected the site to main ITO drain. They pumped the rain water to basement which is connected to the tunnel, which led to flooding. That has been rectified,” she asserted.

The minister also said that in the last one-and-half years, the Delhi government has made the PWD roads “world class”, by installing fountains, sculptures, enhancing lighting and beautifying them.

In Central Delhi, many roads have been redesigned while streetscaping has been done on the road near Rajghat. “We want to show our best,” she said.

The BJP turned Delhi into a “dustbin” during the 15 years of its tenure in the MCD, Atishi said. “During the first year of the LG’s tenure, there was no party in power in the MCD. The MCD was under Centre and LG. Why did they not get Delhi cleaned?”

(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – PTI)

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