Will 2020 bring about any change in the quality of life of the 20 million residents of Delhi? Yes, it should. From traffic decongestion to new DTC buses, smog towers to better street lights – the National Capital can expect several booster shots this year. Add to that a new government at its helm.
BIG BANG INFRA PUSH
This year the city is set to get much-needed relief from traffic snarls. Billed as one of the biggest infrastructure projects for decongesting heavy traffic stretches in Central Delhi, the Public Works Department (PWD) is set to roll out a 1.2-km-long tunnel and six underpasses this year. The Rs 777-crore project is expected of the city to India Gate and parts of central Delhi smoother. The first-of-its-kind tunnel will start near Purana Qila Road and end on the Ring Road near Pragati Power Station.
PWD officials said more than three-fourth of the work is complete and the project could roll out in 2020. It will provide signalfree access to India Gate and Mathura Road for people travelling from Noida, Ghaziabad and Couth Delhi – in both directions. The objective, officials say, is to unclog the ITO intersection through which 3.5 lakh vehicles pass every day. “We expect to complete the project and roll it out in 2020. This is one of the most ambitious projects to unclog the heart of the Capital,” said a PWD official. The Barapullah Phase III stretch – which starts from Mayur Vihar and connects with the elevated corridor at Sarai Kale Khan – will reduce travel time between East and South Delhi to 20 minutes. Proposed in 2015, the stretch was delayed due to various reasons. “We expect to construct loops near Mayur Vihar in 2020. This will mean the road can be thrown open for traffic,” the PWD official said.
Also, the much-awaited Delhi-Meerut Expressway will be completed in 2020. The e-way will reduce travel time between the Capital and Meerut to 45 minutes from the existing four hours.
“We will try to complete the entire Delhi-Meerut Expressway by January 2020, although our officials expect to complete it by March 2020,” Nitin Gadkari, Minister of Road Transport and Highways and MSME, recently announced. The 82-km-long road is coming up at an estimated cost of Rs 8,346 crore.
On December 24, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal laid the foundation stone of the extended Ashram flyover and underpass. “In the last five years, the Delhi government has constructed 24 flyovers across the city. The responsibility of identifying and creating a list of all the congested spots which lead to traffic jams in the city will be handed over to an agency.
The wide roads in Delhi turn into a narrow lane or 3 or 4-lane roads after a few miles which create a bottleneck situation and heavy traffic at some particular locations. The designated agency will provide us with a roadmap on how to solve the problem of traffic congestion at various locations across city,” he said.
MORE SAFETY FOR WOMEN
Ensuring women’s safety, curbing shootouts, arms smuggling and dealing with rumor mongers are among the challenges that the Delhi Police will try and address in 2020. “In Delhi Police, our focus all along is on further professionalising our response and service-delivery. Our request is help us serve you better by devoting some attention to security of your home and colony. Conscious of our duties and obligations, and working together, we can make Delhi a model city: Swachch and Surakshit,” said Delhi Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik.
Also, the Delhi government has started installation of LED streetlights aimed at enhancing women’s safety in the city. The scheme aims to install 2,10,000 streetlights in the Capital – at least 3,000 in each of Delhi’s 70 constituencies, over the next few months.
The government will be done installing around 60,000 lights by the end of January and the entire scheme would be executed in four months, CM Kejriwal said recently. A non-profit, SafetiPin, had submitted its first report to the Delhi government in 2016, after carrying out a safety audit and identifying 7,438 dark spots across the city. Delhi government officials said that the number of dark stretches has been reduced to 2,768.
The agony that many Delhi’s citizens face owing to the lack of public transport in the Capital is likely to reduce this year. In July, the Delhi Cabinet approved procurement of 1,000 CNG low floor buses by the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC). The Delhi government has promised that 9,500 buses will begin operating on the Capital’s roads by May 2020 – an addition of 4,000 buses to the existing fleet of 5,500 buses. This assumes significance because Delhi has not seen the introduction of any new bus in the last nine years.
The Delhi Traffic Police is likely to introduce a dose of futuristic technology and deploy virtual cops to manage traffic signals. Also, traffic cops and the district police will keep 24×7 vigil on live feeds from CCTV cameras to be installed on major roads and accident-prone areas. The Delhi Fire Services, too, is in the race of becoming tech-friendly, as they’ve placed an order for robots that will help douse fires in places where firemen cannot intervene.
Also, construction for Delhi Metro’s Phase IV began on New Year’s Eve. The three corridors of 61.679 km of new Metro lines will be constructed across three different areas of the Capital with 45 stations.
The first section to come up will be the 28.92 km long Janakpuri West-R K Ashram Marg corridor which is an extension of the Magenta Line. The Union Cabinet had in March approved three out of six corridors of the Delhi Metro’s proposed Phase-IV: Mukundpur-Maujpur, RK Ashram-Janakpuri West and Aero City-Tughlakabad.
“The DMRC has commenced work on Phase IV of construction of the Delhi Metro Project comprising three corridors covering 61.67 kilometers at the Haiderpur Badli Mor. The first phase of construction of the Delhi Metro had started on October, 1, 1998 and since then the Delhi Metro has established itself as the most reliable public transportation system in the National Capital and its peripheries. During these two decades, the Delhi Metro project has also emerged as one of the fastest executed Metro projects anywhere in the world,” Anuj Dayal, Executive Director, Corporate Communications, DMRC said in a statement.
Addressing his third town hall meeting on Monday, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal promised he’ll make the National Capital pollution-free in the next five years if re-elected. “We took a number of steps. The first step was providing 24-hour electricity which reduced the use of generators and reduced pollution caused by them… We also held tree plantation drives that helped in increasing tree cover,” said the chief minister.
Kejriwal said a lot still needs to be done. Among the initiatives to address bad air, especially in winters, is the anti-smog tower coming up in 2020. China has recently installed an anti-smog tower that cleans up to about 75 million cubic metres of air per day.
The towers being installed in Delhi are being planned by IITDelhi and IIT-Bombay in collaboration with US-based University of Minnesota. These towers might come up in next two months. Besides this, anti-smog guns will also be used in winters to clean the air. These guns will be set up at designated locations by the Delhi Pollution Control Committee, “These will mostly be used in areas which report a lot of dust”. Also, the Union government is planning to pave all the roads in Delhi-NCR by August 2020 to address the problem of dust.
FINALLY, THE ELECTION
By end of February, Delhi will have a new government in place as the Arvind Kejriwal dispensation completes its five years in power. The wheels for the Assembly polls have already been set in motion with Election Commission of India reviewing facilities last week. It is expected that poll dates are likely to be announced between January 7 and 12 and will be conducted within three to four weeks from the date of announcement. The term of the Assembly, in which the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)?won 67 of the 70 seats in 2015, ends on February 22, 2020.
For the first time, voters’ slips will carry a QR code to facilitate electors and to speed up voter identification, officials said. Delhi’s Chief Election Officer recently said Delhi will be the first state/Union Territory in which a booth app shall be used in every polling station for the first time in the country. “The use of QR (Quick Response) code will reduce the time of poll process,” an official said.
Senior AAP leader Sanjay Singh said people will judge Kejriwal for his work this time. “We saw national issues didn’t resonate in Maharashtra or Jharkhand. People will vote for Kejriwal’s work over the last five years,” he said.
Kejriwal had launched his government’s report card last week which lead to sharp criticism from both the BJP and the Congress. The Opposition has accused the AAP government of making false claims. “Kejriwal had made 70 promises. AAP’s report card is filled with lies. However, the situation on the ground is different.
His report card was a fraud paper,” BJP leader and Delhi chief Manoj Tiwari said. “Facts are facts and will not disappear. Your (Kejriwal’s) claim of building 24 flyovers in Delhi is completely false. We have RTI replies proving that his government did not construct a single flyover in five years. Our government (the Sheila Dikshit government) built 70 flyovers in Delhi,” said Delhi Congress chief Subhash Chopra.Source: India Today