Delhi's streets are supposed to be neat and clean with freshly painted road dividers and iron grills in the run-up to the Republic Day and Independence Day. This year no such drive has been undertaken to beautify the streets and the roadsides.
The reason – officials of the PWD simply forgot that Republic Day was so close. PWD and Urban Development Minister AK Walia got a shock of his life on Friday during a routine inspection drive in several parts of the city. He found that posters and banners were still in place around the roads from where the parade was to pass and no effort had been made to spruce up the streets.
"The officials forgot that January 26 was around. The drill which is carried out every year twice was not done," admitted Walia. The concerned minister immediately summoned the top officials of PWD and other departments and gave them a dressing down.
"I want the drive to be launched today itself. All roads in and around the area where the parade is to pass and other parts of the city should be spruced up before the Republic Day," he told the officials. The deadline given is January 25 though the minister would take a round earlier to find whether the directions are being followed or not.
But why does the government launch the drive only before the Republic and Independence Day and not round the year? "Periodic inspections are done but on these two days and festivals we take special care. With the multiplicity of authorities in Delhi, it is often difficult to execute a given plan," said Walia.
In the next few days, the departments of Delhi government and civic bodies would remove malba from all over the city, paint the iron grills and road dividers, whitewash the central verge, prune the trees, remove the ugly posters and banners on the walls and other public places etc. The agencies would also fix the non-functional streetlights, repair the roads and paint the road lanes afresh.
Email Amitabh Shukla: ashukla @hindustantimes.com