Apprehensive about the progress of work of the Commonwealth Games Village, the then chief minister Sheila Dikshit visited it just 12 days before the start of the mega sporting event of 2010 and asked the MCD boss whether the unfinished tasks can be completed on a fast track, says a new book.
Former IAS officer K S Mehra who served in various capacities in the government including commissioner of unified MCD from 2008-12 in the rank of secretary, summarises his four decades of experience in “State of the Capital: Creating a Truly Smart City”.
He devotes a chapter to how Delhi hosted the Commonwealth Games. Mehra says following news reports that the CWG Organising Committee found the venue wanting in many ways and expressed unhappiness at the speed and quality of work, he got call from Sheila Dikshit on September 22, 2010. The games were to begin from October 3. “She wanted me to accompany her to the site of the Commonwealth Games Village near the Akshardham temple. She took me around the village and asked me whether the MCD could get the unfinished tasks completed on a fast track,” recalls Mehra.
“I assured the chief minister without blinking that we would do the needful within a week’s time. I was confident that Team MCD was capable of undertaking any task and completing it, if guided, instructed and supported appropriately,” he writes. He says the unfinished tasks were “simple and easy” but the only concern was “limited time and any delays could jeopardise the games”.
The book, which has a foreword by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and is published by Rupa, talks about the ongoing and rising problems of metro cities and seeks to provide effective solutions for good and easy governance.
Mehra is also of the view that the trifurcation of the unified MCD has shorn it of its powers, many of which stand transferred to the government of Delhi. “It is necessary to amalgamate the three corporations – north, south and east – with a view to restoring the status quo-ante to constitute a unified MCD,” he suggests.
He says there is need for innovative solutions to tackle various problems plaguing the capital city. “The efforts of the government need to be well placed right from the planning stage itself to ensure the right kind of investment in the prioritised sectors,” he says.