A day after Jamia Millia Islamia's Vice-Chancellor Najeeb Jung, 62, was appointed the new Lieutenant Governor of Delhi, he spoke to HT about his concerns, priorities and what changes he would like to see in the city. Excerpts from an interview:
As the L-G of Delhi, what are your priorities?
As a citizen of Delhi, my priorities are the same as that of any other citizen. These include security of women and the expansion of Delhi. Concerns over safety for women have remained consistent throughout the past 50-60 years. In fact, they may be more exacerbated today. As far as my plans regarding these issues are concerned, I am yet to have a chat with the police commissioner to know their plans and strategies. I have an added advantage of having served as a police commissioner in the early stages of my career.
Safety of women is a major concern. The Delhi Police report to you. So what are you planning to do to instill confidence in women?
I have a daughter who is 33 and I worry when she's not back home by 12pm. I don't want anyone to face such a situation. Improvement in the quality of policing will give confidence to women. We also need to instill confidence among general populace so that they report matters to the police. But across the world, people are reluctant about filing FIRs. You try reporting a matter in a London police station, and you will still feel the same reluctance as you don't know how the policeman will behave.
Encroachment has eaten into Yamuna's riverbed. And considering the Uttarakhand disaster, what steps should be taken to preserve the river?
Violation of laws must be dealt with strictly. However, at the same time, we have to be sensitive when it comes to removing people who have come to Delhi and settled down here with their families. They have to be removed, but with dignity. And everything should be done to protect the riverbed. We need to restore it to its lost glory.
The DDA is looking at reviewing Master Plan of Delhi 2021. What are your plans?
Delhi has done quite well compared to other cities as the government has spent a lot on building its infrastructure, right from the time of Asian Games (when some of the first flyovers of the city were built) and then the Commonwealth Games. But this has certainly not been enough. We need to devise a strategy to handle the great influx of population.
Structural safety is a major concern, especially in the recently regularised unauthorised colonies.
Commenting on this matter right now would be premature. Of course, it is important to ensure that every home in the city is structurally safe, especially those built by the government. And if people are going to build homes on their own, they should be provided the means to building safe houses.
Multiplicity of authorities is another major problem.
I have been facing a volley of questions on who should control the police. My answer is simple: As a policeman, I've worked under various chief ministers and have faced no problems. In Delhi, the police fall under the purview of the home ministry. Here too, I see no problem as the aim of the Central and state governments is the same. If that weren't true, why would a chief minister, who has been in power for 15 years, call upon an L-G, who is just 18 hours old? There won't be any conflict as our agenda is development.