The social welfare department may have never been the most efficient of the lot in Delhi government, but the long list of pending projects had even the health minister chaffing. In a situation where thousands of working women in the city continue to stay in precarious rented accommodation, several working women’s hostels that were cleared in Delhi budgets for 2001, 2002 and 2003 are still hanging fire.
The combined inefficiency of the social welfare department and the public works department has led to several projects now being handed over to the Delhi State Industrial Development Corporation (DSIDC). In a recent meeting with the department officials, chaired by Delhi health minister Yoganand Shastri, it was revealed that projects cleared six to seven years back are yet to be started, let alone completed.
Sample this: A proposal to set up a working women’s hostel in Dilshad Garden was cleared in 2001 and 1,356 square metre land allotted for the same. Although the department made a payment of Rs 16.21 lakh back then for the land, it is yet to take possession of the plot. “Another working women’s hostel in Rani Bagh in northwest Delhi that was allotted land by the DDA in 2002 has not come up either. The department paid Rs 24 lakh for a piece of disputed land. There was a court stay on the sale, but the department failed to pursue the matter,” said a source.The state government, however, puts the responsibility of the project on DDA that they say “allotted a piece of disputed land to them”.
“We have approached the DDA for allotment of alternative land for the Rani Bagh hostel 19 times, but to no avail,” said Shastri.
Two other projects were stalled by the PWD’s lack of initiative. The department had acquired 3000 square metres of land in Vasant Village at a cost of Rs 38 lakh and another piece of land in Dhirpur in northwest Delhi for building accommodation for working women, but in both the cases PWD sat on the projects. “The Vasant Village project was handed over to DSIDC after PWD failed to move in three years. The Dhirpur project is still in a limbo,” said an official.