INTERVIEW | Wanted to create permanent assets in city: Delhi L-G Vinai Kumar Saxena

Delhi Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena says he never monitored G20 work sitting in the office, adding he’s made 56 visits to sites to know the reality.
Delhi Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena. (Photo | Express)
Delhi Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena. (Photo | Express)

Amid preparedness for the G20 leadership summit, Delhi Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena on Saturday said the target is to create permanent assets in the city.  Sprucing up the city’s infrastructure will continue even after the event. In an interview with Parvez Sultan and Anup Verma, the L-G also spoke about efforts being put in by all agencies in a coordinated manner, maintenance of newly created assets and  ‘differences’ with the elected representatives.


You have been on the ground since day one (taking over as L-G); inspecting infra and supervising work. Why was your attention or intervention required?

Each individual has own style of functioning. Some go to the ground and some prefer to stay in the comforts of the office. It has been my habit since the beginning that I always go and see the work on the ground. Until I satisfy myself, I don’t trust whether a work has been completed. The biggest benefit of this practice is that you get to know the correct position. If there is an issue, it is resolved and we move on.

After taking the oath, I announced that I would be more active on the roads than sitting in Raj Niwas. During the last 60 days (for G20 leadership summit preparations), I have made 56 visits to the different locations in the capital.

Delhi is going to host a major event (G20 summit) so it is required to check the ground reality.
We witnessed damaged roads and unclean areas which needed immediate attention. I must say that a portion of the city has witnessed massive improvement. My focus was to create permanent assets for the city and to maintain them rather than giving attention to superficial works like decoration or renovation. 

We have created green assets, focused on the installation of statues and repair of major roads. Our vision is to create infrastructure in the national capital so that the city can be ready in one week to host any international event.

We have done work in the last two months, which is visible to people; and being talked about. 
Had this (Delhi) government worked even for a year in the last nine years, the face of Delhi would definitely have been different and better. It is hence proved that everything is possible if we want to achieve.

Has any arrangement been made for the maintenance of assets created during this beautification drive for the G20 summit?

We will maintain the assets we have added. They will remain intact. The contracts for cleaning of foundations, and sculptures as well as for the maintenance of green spaces within the city have already been signed. We will not sit but will continue to work. After September 16, we will take up roads one by one; and beautify them.

Was coordination among multiple agencies difficult? Or does non-cooperation of the government create hurdles?  

All agencies worked together like a team. We are seeing results. We have successfully achieved the target.

The elected dispensation also raised the issue of funding G20-related beautification work in the city. What is the exact position?

No extra funds have been incurred which gives an impression that thousands of crores have been spent. Expenditures are taking place from the ‘normal budgets’. Most expenditure was on sanitation, which every department has. What assets (fountains, installation and green spaces) you are seeing have been managed through CSR funding.

Is there any proposal in the pipeline to deal with recurring problems such as waterlogging, shortage of water due to the rise of ammonia level in Yamuna or health crisis?  

I have written a letter to the chief minister and given details on how we can work to resolve the issues of the city. I think that he will take action.

A common complaint of the government is that officers defy their orders. Delivery of services is being affected.

It is not like that. So far, my experience is that all of them have been working very hard. How we make people work is an art. I can’t make a comment on their claim. The same arrangement existed till nine years ago; there was a lieutenant governor (L-G) and so was the government. There was never a conflict. Everyone has a distinct style of working. Debates are unending if you want to work; there is no obstacle.

The chief minister and the ministers were not in attendance at the high-level G20 preparedness review meetings chaired by you. Were they involved in the preparation? Or were they not invited?     

They were not involved. The chief minister and ministers attended a meeting once but after that, they never turned up. Yes, they are invited. It is a routine.

Often there is a difference between you and the Government. Is there any way to reconcile the issue?

My relations (with the state government) are very good. There is no question of a bad equation. We always work in tandem. They have their own arrangements and political compulsions. Nobody can be forced. For instance, if there are 10 people in a department, eight understand their responsibility and work enthusiastically. But at the same time, the two just work half-heartedly.
I am working and delivering. I don’t face any difficulty. They have their own thoughts. Undoubtedly we have to work together; if both hands come together, things are accelerated.

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