Sheila Dikshit, the Chief Minister of Delhi, has been credited with the introduction of the Bhagidari concept, a rare citizen-government partnership. At the core of this partnership is water management, in which the initiative seeks to ensure greater availability of water to residents of Delhi. Though the closure of Upper Ganga canal created enough drama, she insists things were fine. In an interview with HindustanTimes.com, she spells out her government's plans and the participation of people in spreading water consciousness.
Was Bhagidari entirely your concept?
Yes, totally. I feel that in a democracy the participation of the people in governance is a must. We want governance through partnership. It must be a live activity. The government should know that at the centre of their activity is the citizen. Therefore we brought about the right to information bill.
I also felt that as Delhi is the capital city of the country, its services should among the best. As it is amongst the largest cities of the world, it has the potential to be a centre of excellence.
Are you thinking of privatising Delhi Jal Board (DJB) as you have done with the power sector?
No, not as of now. What we are thinking of is restructuring it. We have asked the World Bank to help us. Plus, we are banking on the Sonia Vihar treatment facility and Munak Canal from Haryana. Once these are in place, the board may not require 1,100 tankers. DJB is legacy we have inherited. Previous governments had the habit of over-staffing such bodies, which could be corrected.
In the impartial distribution of water has the fact that New Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) and Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) are not under your government posed serious problems?
Yes. We give these bodies bulk supplies but they are not entirely under us. Delhi poses serious administrative problems. Here the role of the Lieutenant Governor has to be very proactive. We are the elected government, therefore local governance has to be under us. For instance, Delhi Development Authority (DDA) and planning are not with us too.