New Delhi was, on Tuesday, named among the top four global cities at the inaugural Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize in Singapore with Chief Minister Sheila Dixit appreciated for her "charismatic and determined leadership" for improving the living environment of the India's capital.
Dikshit's efforts in promoting a "liveable city" were the basis of naming the Indian capital along with Melbourne of Australia, Curitiba of Brazil and the prize winner Bilbao. This was announced in Singapore at the World Cities Summit 2010.
A total of 72 city nominations were received from 32 countries for the prize. "Sheila Dikshit was shortlisted for her charismatic and determined leadership in improving the living environment of New Delhi. Inspite of limited resources and limited control over the planning process, Dikshit had managed to muster the masses to implement several project-based initiatives that led to an improvement in the quality of life," a statement from the Lee Kuan Yew World city prize committee said.
"She also managed to increase the green cover in Delhi from 26 km² in 1997 to nearly 300 km² to-date, and was the key proponent in converting all public transport to the use of CNG fuel. This has led to a marked improvement in the air quality of the city," it added.
Elaborating on Dikshit's efforts in turning New Delhi green, her special secretary Keshav Chandra highlighted the success of CNG (compressed natural gas) busses in the public transportation system and the socio community-based Bhagidari Citizen-Government partnership, which has grown to 2,300 groups managing daily issues within their community and vicinity.
Speaking as a representative of the Chief Minister, Chandra also listed out the success in power sector reform in the capital city, saying power losses have been reduced to 18 per cent these days from 52 per cent in 2002. "We are targeting to reduce power transmission losses to 12 per cent within the next one year," he said.
Dikshit has also been noted for her green efforts and having had 1.1 million saplings planted through the city as well as her school level efforts in having students teach their parents to do away with plastic bags. Forested areas around New Delhi has increased to 300 sq km in 2009 from a mere 26 sq km in 1998, said Chandra in a presentation on managing the 16.3 million people capital city, which is joined by 500,000 migrants every year.
Among new challenging projects is the cleaning of the Yamuna River for New Delhi and Dikshit, the main investment for which include a Rs 32,000 crore integrated sewage treatment plant, he said. The World Cities Summit is being held June 28 to July 1.