Setting aside politics, the Centre and AAP government along with local bodies in the capital have come together on a single platform to make Delhi clean, hailed as the “true spirit of co-operative federalism” by Union Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday.
Naidu was speaking at the launch of ‘Swachch Delhi Abhiyan’ here, which would be observed in the city from November 22-30, seeking to make it free of garbage and construction debris.
“We should set aside politics and work together to make Delhi, which is a mini-India, clean.
“I’m delighted to be part of this initiative, where all the three levels of governance — Centre, Delhi administration and urban local bodies — have decided to work in tandem to rid Delhi of filth, garbage and other waste. This is not BJP team or AAP team but ‘Team India’.
“Our Constitution makers dreamt a federal structure and this (event) is finest example of co-operative federalism, but it should also be cooperative and competitive federalism, so that other states can take a cue from it and deliver the best,” Naidu said at the event, adding that a “new beginning has been made in politics”.
The Union minister later also handed over a cheque of Rs 96.7 crore to the Delhi government as funds from the Urban Development Ministry, which Kejriwal promptly handed over to the urban local bodies at the event.
The Delhi Chief Minister, speaking earlier, also hailed the event as “the true spirit of cooperative federalism” and said “political divisions” should not deter us from acting in public good.
“I will tell you our problem in cleaning our cities is not technicalities, but the missing political will. And, today that political will I see here, from Centre to the local bodies…. And, I credit Naiduji for the positive attitude from his side.
“I am sure, if we can work together, we can solve our problems, and people will appreciate us all,” Kejriwal said.
Under the over-arching framework of the ‘Swachch Bharat’ initiative, Delhi government had on November 16 launched the ‘Swachch Delhi App’ which allows people to take pictures and lodge complaints in connection with sanitation conditions in the city.
Senior Delhi government officials at the event announced that over 13,000 complaints have already been received at the central control room and accordingly forwarded to the respective local body.
In his address the Union minister also said that in Delhi, “1.25 lakh individual household toilets are to be built by 2019, but work in this regard is still to commence.”
He asked Kejriwal to look into this matter.
“But more than schemes and actions, we need a change in mindset of people to keep their surrounding clean. That would be out true tribute to the Mahatma on his 150th birth anniversary,” he added.
The initiative comes close on the heels of the sanitation crisis in the city after the employees of civic bodies went on strike over non-payment of salaries, an issue on which the BJP-ruled municipal corporations and AAP government had traded charges.
“A good beginning has been made in politics…,” Naidu said, referring to the the event, which was also attended by Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, the three city mayors and municipal commissioners, New Delhi MP Meenakshi Lekhi, Leader of Opposition in Delhi Assembly Vijender Gupta, senior officials from both Delhi and central governments, among others.