New Delhi: Three days before his government marks its first anniversary, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday promised an elevated two-level BRT corridor, a medical insurance scheme for Delhiites and piped water supply to almost the entire city.
Addressing the media at his residence, Kejriwal also unveiled details of how his Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government hopes to unleash major changes in the health and education sectors.
Kejriwal also justified his decision not to hold any portfolio — the first chief minister to do so — and expressed confidence that the AAP was set to win the Punjab assembly elections next year.
PWD and Health Minister Satyendar Jain explained that the two-level East-West elevated corridor would come up to ensure unhindered traffic, linking Anand Vihar in east Delhi and Tigri border in west Delhi via ITO.
Buses would use the upper level for free while private vehicles could use the lower level after paying a toll.
“There will be access to the elevated corridor after every five or six kilometres,” said Jain, who is also an architect.
The Delhi government would also buy 3,000 more buses, including luxury buses, by December to boost public transport.
Kejriwal said the mass of middle class in the capital would give up their own transport and take to buses only if they realized this was “convenient and easily accessible”.
Another road corridor was being planned between Dwarka and Punjabi Bagh, Kejriwal said, adding these would be done in cooperation with Lt. Governor Najeeb Jung, who holds vast powers in Delhi’s complex power set-up.
Jain also promised a comprehensive health insurance for the people of Delhi and said the number of beds in government hospitals would be doubled to 20,000.
“All (government) hospitals in Delhi will be computerised.”
Saying the primary healthcare system had “completely collapsed” in Delhi, Kejriwal said the city would soon have 1,000 Mohalla Clinics, where people can go for minor diseases, and 150 polyclinics.
Hospitals have been told that they have to provide medicines free of cost, “and no excuses will be permitted. We will ensure the money”.
All government schools were being provided an Estate Manager whose task would be oversee cleanliness and security so that the principal as well as teachers focus solely on education.
Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia detailed the steps taken to improve the lot of government schools and claimed the quality of education had sharply improved in 54 schools taken up for a pilot project. “Of the 54, eight to 10 schools have shown extraordinary changes.”
Kejriwal said he did not regret his decision not to hold any portfolio.
“I feel a chief minister should supervise rather than keep any portfolio. I did not want to get into the nitty-gritty… It has worked very well.”
The chief minister also said that barring 30-40 localities, piped water supply would be available in the whole of Delhi by next December.
He added that despite giving limited free water and water subsidy, the Delhi Jal Board’s revenue had gone up Rs.176 crore since he took office in February last year.
Kejriwal said he was confident the AAP would come to power in Punjab in assembly election due next year and that the Congress may end up a distant second. “The Akalis are in a bad shape.”
He said the AAP now had a presence in every polling booth and had begun door-to-door campaigning all over the state. “By the time the others wake up, their game will be up.”