In a 7-part series, HT introduces new ministers and asks them how they plan to make the capital a better place.
Dr AK Walia is the senior most member of Sheila Dikshit’s Cabinet. He has previously held charges of Health, Finance, Planning, Urban Development and PWD portfolios and finds himself in known territory as the Minister for Finance, Planning, Urban Development and Land and Building this time. Walia talks to Sidhartha Roy about his plans.
Many projects for the Commonwealth Games are running behind schedule...
Delhi is a city of challenges. We are talking with all the concerned departments so all projects are completed on time. We have to monitor the work. Sanitation has to improve. We are coordinating with all the local bodies and discussing with them to sort out issues, if there are any. We are trying to get positive results.
Some projects are in a limbo after objections raised by the Delhi Urban Arts Commission and environment groups. How do you plan to speed up construction of these projects?
Projects like the tunnel road are with the PWD. We are talking to all departments. The PWD department has been following up on all projects and will get all the necessary permissions.
Do you plan to allocate a separate budget for the Games?
The Centre allocates the budget for the Commonwealth Games, but we also have our own provisions. We have a special budget. Financing will not be a problem.
Excise is the biggest revenue generator for the government. Do you plan to tap other sources as well?
Our main source of revenue is from excise and VAT and we have been doing a very efficient work in generating the revenue. I would call a meeting shortly to review the state of finance and will see if our collections can get better.
Provisional certificates issued to residents of unauthorised colonies would expire soon. When do you plan to regularise them?
We have sorted out all issues regarding regularisation. We would try that the work is completed fast. We will have a review meeting to finalise the steps that are to be taken.