The Public Works Department may have made a big din about mechanised cleaners for Ring Road and Outer Ring Road, but with Commonwealth Games 2010 barely a few months away, it seems to be getting cold feet over cleaning the peripheral roads that have turned more into arterial routes for traffic.
The Delhi government has decided to hand back about 80 km on Ring Road and Outer Ring Road to the MCD for upkeep of sanitation for a year.
The move is being described as conservative with the government not wanting to face embarrassment over sanitation.
The stretches — 50 km on Outer Ring Road and 30 km on Ring Road — was taken away from MCD for shoddy cleaning and handed over to the PWD after an inspection by the CM.
This included stretches adjoining central Delhi such as the one outside Rajghat that also leads to the Delhi Secretariat building.
The interesting bit is that the PWD that had floated tenders for mechanised cleaning and even chosen a firm was not backtracking on its claim.
"PWD was sweeping 80 km of the total 400 km of road it maintains as MCD was not able to ensure proper sanitation. But there are problems like drains overflowing that PWD is not equipped to handle. MCD is also keen to do this job and if they do well, they can carry on," said a senior government official who had attended the meeting in which the handover decision was taken on Thursday evening.
Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, Delhi PWD Minister Raj Kumar Chauhan, senior officials from MCD and the PWD and UD departments attended the meeting.
"There was talk of mechanised cleaners but if machines break down, PWD does not have people to clean manually. We can't have any problems on Ring Road. With Games coming up, we are taking a conservative approach. This is not the time for experiments. Even if MCD can't keep entire Delhi clean, they will definitely ensure that these stretches are clean," the official added.
The cleaning of the Ring Road and Outer Ring Road will cost MCD another Rs 4.87 crore for which the government will make an additional allocation.