'Delhi is regretting its decision of electing Arvind Kejriwal.'
For the past eight days, sanitation levels in the nation's capital have reached an all-time low with garbage not being collected. Residents of Delhi are fighting to ignore the heaps of trash and block the stench.
Sanitation workers, meanwhile, continue to strike, protesting the non-payment of their salaries for the last few months.
Lata Gupta, below, left, chairman of the East Delhi Municipal Corporation's Standing Committee and a Bharatiya Janata Party councillor speaks to Syed Firdaus Ashraf/Rediff.com about the stink in Delhi.
Why are Municipal Corporation of Delhi workers on strike?
Arvind Kejriwal is responsible for the mess in Delhi.
Our three Delhi municipalities were under central rule in 2012. In 2012, Sheela Dixit split the Delhi municipality into the North, South and East Delhi Municipal Corporations. There was no roadmap for it.
In North Delhi and East Delhi, the situation is bad. When Delhi was unified, East Delhi used to have a 25 per cent budget, but its revenue generation was only 14 per cent. So East Delhi was already running on a shortage of 11 per cent of funds.
Besides that, every five years there is a commission constituted by the state government which checks how much reform a municipality has done. And that commission submits report to the government. In 2009, that commission gave a report and said that money should be given to us (East Delhi). That money has not been given to us till date.
But the Aam Aadmi Party government says the BJP-run MCD has been given money.
We have not been given a single paisa.
Our municipality is not a profitable agency. Here, the expenses are more and earnings are less.
Every municipality in our country runs with the help of the state government. But the AAP government is rigid and does not want to hear our problems. Therefore, people have gone on strike.
There has to be some truth in what the AAP is saying. They say they have given the money and accuse the BJP-run MCD of misappropriation.
On Tuesday (February 2), both parties submitted their reports to the high court. On February 10, the court will take its decision.
The AAP government accuses us of running a scam and that we have siphoned off the funds. However, its not that easy. The CAG (Comptroller Auditor General) audits the municipalities.
Besides that, there is a local director appointed to look into our affairs by the Delhi state government.
So, you are saying the MCD has not done anything wrong and that the AAP is wrongly accusing you of misappropriation of funds?
Yes. The AAP wants us to suffer in the Delhi municipal elections which are to be held in 2017.
They want the Delhi municipality to run badly. The AAP wants Delhi to stink and be dirty.
They want to tell people that the BJP does not want to clean Delhi. They want MCD staffers to come out on the roads and give a bad name to the BJP.
However, the people of Delhi know that Kejriwal has stopped payments to the Delhi municipalities.
So, all this has been done for political benefit?
Yes. On January 7, the court said that the fourth finance commission should be tabled. They did not table it till then. Finally they tabled it after January 7 and wrote in the report that the central government must listen to their points.
How can they make recommendations to the Centre?
As an elected representative when you meet people, what do they tell you? What do the people feel about the mess in Delhi?
They are regretting their decision electing Kejriwal. Today, there is dirt and filth strewn around in Delhi and Kejriwal is sitting in Bengaluru.
Kejriwal cannot manage his chief minister's post and is dreaming of being prime minister of India.
He tells us the situation is not good in Delhi municipalities. I say as a chief minister, he must come out and find a solution. He has to find a middle path.
There are 150,000 employees on the roads.
What must Kejriwal do in your opinion?
He must leave party politics now. There is a time and place for politics. He doesn't need to do it 365 days.
When will he work for the people of Delhi?