AAP, Centre trade barbs over skywalk at Delhi’s ITO ahead of its inauguration
The row over the inauguration of city’s first skywalk intensified on Sunday, with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) accusing the Centre’s Union housing and urban affairs ministry of trying to ‘hijack the work of an elected government’ by not inviting any representative from Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government.
“AAP demands that Union urban affairs minister Hardeep Puri should tell the people of Delhi whether it is a norm of his ministry to hijack the work of elected governments in other states also or is he merely following the orders of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) for perpetuating injustice to Delhi?” AAP chief spokesperson Saurabh Bharadwaj said in a statement on Sunday.
The invite for the event — which will be organised by the Centre at 3pm on Monday — was sent out on Thursday by the Union ministry. The invite has the names of Delhi’s lieutenant governor, Anil Baijal and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Meenakshi Lekhi, but does not have names of any minister or MLA from the party ruling Delhi. Puri will inaugurate the project.
“AAP congratulates the people of Delhi on the completion of the unique skywalk project at the centrally located ITO traffic intersection. It is a tribute to the professional competence of the Delhi PWD team, led by its minister Satyendar Jain, which conceptualised this idea, prepared a first of its kind design and after the necessary approvals, executed the construction at one of the busiest traffic intersections without causing any inconvenience to the public,” Bharadwaj said in the statement
The skywalk, funded by the Centre and designed and constructed by Delhi government’s PWD department, will connect Sikandra Road, Mathura Road, Tilak Marg and Bahadurshah Zafar Marg with Pragati Maidan, ITO Metro stations and the Supreme Court.
Union minister Hardeep Puri said he has expressed his position through his tweets. In one of the tweets, Puri while condemning the ‘despair’ over its inauguration, said the project was conceptualised and funded by his ministry. Puri accused the Arvind Kejriwal government of non-cooperation in the project and delaying it deliberately.
“Skywalk has been conceptualised, planned & totally funded by my ministry, so I am surprised at the despair being expressed in certain quarters at not being ‘invited’ for its inauguration,” he wrote in one of his 12 tweets.
“When works were getting delayed after sanctions in April, 2016, because of non-cooperation by AAP government, it was decided in Oct, 2017, to fund all mobility projects fully by my ministry, DDA or ITPO,” he said. He also requested the Kejriwal government not to hold inaugurations against citizens welfare.
Earlier too, the Delhi government and Centre were involved in similar controversies over inaugurations of projects. In December last year, AAP leaders were miffed after chief minister Arvind Kejriwal was not invited to the launch of Delhi Metro’s Magenta line.