NEW DELHI: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal took a jibe at the NDA government over the statehood demand and said a “government with big a heart” was needed at the Centre to address this issue. He also said if the Centre does not want to accord full statehood to Delhi then it should keep areas under New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC), its land and police rights with itself, and give the areas under Municipal Corporations of Delhi (MCDs), its land and police rights to Delhi government.
“For that you need a government with a big heart. Now we have to see whether the present government will show that big heart or the next government,” he said.
Noting that people of Delhi pay Rs 1.30 lakh crore to the Centre in terms of Income Tax but get only Rs 350 crore in return, Kejriwal said, “Even the British has not looted Delhi the way the Centre has.”
“All parties say that Delhi should be given the status of full statehood. They promise that in their manifestos and after winning polls they say we didn’t actually mean it. People often joke that you are the one-fourth Chief Minister of a half state. In 1993 when BJP came to power, Congress was at the Centre. After Congress came to power in Delhi, the BJP was at the Centre. Then for 10 years, the Congress was in power both at the Centre and Delhi. At any point of time the Centre did not lose its control over Delhi,” Kejriwal said.
“The Centre should show a big heart and view this issue from a larger perspective and give full statehood to Delhi. If you cannot give full statehood to Delhi then keep NDMC areas, which we call New Delhi region, keep the police and land control to yourself. But the police and land and issues related to the MCD areas should be given to Delhi government,” Kejriwal said.
The Delhi chief minister was speaking at a conference on ‘Small States and Pro-People Paradigm’ which was moderated by former Union Minister Jairam Ramesh, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat, Chattisgarh’s Raman Singh and Jharkhand’s Raghubir Das.
In response to a question on whether the decision on ‘Odd Even Formula’ for private vehicles should have been taken after consulting people, Kejriwal said, “The decision on Odd Even Formula has been taken with a lot of thinking. We have 20-25 days. In this time span we are having a dialogue with people and seeking their suggestions.”
“A suggestion of having vehicles run on CNG and we are thinking about it. Many such suggestions are pouring in. We will try this Odd Even Formula once. If it is successful then we can implement it again. If not then it can be dropped. Currently, there is no structured platform to seek public opinion. The work for forming mohalla sabhas is on and of 3,000 mohalla sabhas, we have formed some 2,700 and maps for remaining are being prepared. Once that takes place then we can have a platform. But there are some decisions at the gram sabha level, district and state,” he said.
He said the Delhi model cannot be applied anywhere else as there are multiple agencies and “no single command”.
Highlighting the issue of land acquisition, Kejriwal said when the Delhi government planned to procure new buses it needed around 500 acres of land.
“But the DDA asked for Rs 4 crore per acre. Now, the total cost of buses is less than the cost of land required. The DDA gives land only for building school. For even building a hospital or university, the Delhi government has to shell out Rs 4 to 10 crore,” Kejriwal said.