Sheila Dikshit, the chief minister of Delhi, heads the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) that is executing the Connaught Place restoration project. Talking to Hindustan Times, she said she was trying to ensure that the project met the deadline. Excerpts from an interview:
The Connaught Place restoration project was supposed to end before the Commonwealth Games. What has led to the delay?
I am not at all happy with the progress of the work and I apologise for the inconvenience people are
facing due to these delays. But we are closely monitoring the project and will ensure that the December 2012 deadline is met.
Your organisation has already missed four deadlines. How will you ensure that the latest one, that of December 2012, is met?
We have been holding regular review meetings to take stock of the situation. We’ll be meeting all the stakeholders again on Monday to ensure everything takes place on time. There’s no denying that the shopkeepers are bearing the brunt of the work. And it is certainly not a good situation to be in. Even the shoppers coming to the market feel harassed. Let’s hope there isn’t more rain, otherwise the contractors may want another extension of deadline.
Stakeholders have been complaining about the slow progress of work and how they have not been involved in the decision-making process?
Whenever I hold any meeting, I ensure that the traders of Connaught Place are also present as they
have been most affected. It is important that their concerns are taken into account.
Are you planning to take any action against the contractors for the delays?
We had chosen Engineering India Limited (EIL) as the stakeholder as it is a government agency and we believed they would do the best job. But they haven’t lived up to the expectations. We are quite disappointed.
(As told to Neelam Pandey and Hamari Jamatia)