In a series of major announcements, the Chief Minister NCT Arvind Kejriwal on 22 July 2018 announced that the Delhi government will double the financial assistance from the existing Rs one lakh per acre to Rs two lakh per acre to the Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs) and NGOs registered with the Delhi Parks and Gardens Society (DPGS) for maintenance of parks and gardens.
Addressing the interactive session with representatives of over 261 RWAs/NGOs from across Delhi at his residence, the Chief Minister also announced that the grant of financial assistance will now not be linked with the categorisation of colonies since it did not have any reasonable ground for restricting financial assistance based upon categorization of colonies.
The financial assistance provided by the DPGS will now be uniform @ 90% by the government for the registered RWAs/NGOs, and balance 10% to be borne by the RWAs/NGOs.
The Chief Minister also requested the participants at the meeting to get their damaged borewells/motors repaired with government support in the next 10 days for which they may give request letters to the DPGS. Thereafter, a uniform policy will be adopted so that no problem is faced on this ground by RWAs/NGOs.
The Chief Minister also assured that the documentation for release of financial assistance will also be reduced to the minimum but it may be understood that since public money is involved some essential documentation would still be required.
He requested the RWAs to participate in full strength in the biggest ever plantation drive to be held in the history of Delhi next month, details of which will be announced very soon. The Chief Minister said the work of RWAs in greening of parks and their maintenance is a very significant contribution for the national capital.
The Chief Minister invited the RWAs representatives for the public consultation on the installation of CCTV cameras in Delhi on 29th July 2018.
Environment & Forest Minister Imran Hussain, all senior officials of these departments and Delhi Pollution Control Committee along with many MLAs were present at the interactive session.
Delhi Parks and Gardens Society (DPGS) was established by the Delhi for monitoring and coordinating management of parks and gardens in the national capital. It has its own Governing Body and Executive Committee with Directors, Horticulture of all civic agencies as its members.
The DPGS provides funds as financial assistance for development and maintenance activities of parks and gardens to RWAs and other registered societies. It has inter alia objective of providing green environment in Delhi, identifying vacant spaces for taking up greening projects for increasing green cover in Delhi with active assistance and participation from RWAs and NGOs.
The DPGS has till now been providing financial assistance @ Rs one lakh per acre per annum depending upon the size of the park. Financial assistance was till now based upon the categorization of colonies from A to H categories as classified by Municipal Corporations for levy of property tax. Parks/gardens located in colonies falling under A category get 30% of assistance with progressive assistance up to 100% in case of H categories colonies.
In the financial years 2017-18, 261 RWAs received financial assistance to the tune of approx. Rs 1.63 crore for maintaining 1164 parks covering around 370 acre area.
During the interactive session with RWAs/NGOs, Chief Minister asked about the problems faced by the RWAs/NGOs in maintaining parks and gardens in Delhi.
The problems indicated by the participants ranged from inadequate provision of financial assistance by DPGS, extensive and cumbersome documentation, inadequate funds for payment of wages to the gardeners/malis, problems in obtaining pruning permission for the trees and plants, high cost for greening/grassing the gardens, scarcity of water, bore wells requiring repairs, requirement of tree guards for protecting plantation, water harvesting, inadequacies in infrastructure in the parks requiring pathways, swings, gyms, safety and security of visitors to the parks etc.
A large number of participants spoke in the interactive session. Very useful suggestions were received from RWAs of C-3 Block, Janakpuri; S Block, Greater Kailash Part 1; Nangloi-Mangolpuri; Pocket E, GTB Nagar; Dilshad Colony-ABD Block; East Patel Nagar; Vasant Kunj etc.
The Chief Minister urged upon the participants to seek involvement of more local residents in the maintenance and development of parks by organising shramdaan for them. He also requested the RWAs/NGOs to adopt more parks for undertaking greening activities in a big way. He also offered his participation in such activities.
Regarding pruning of trees, assistance from the CEO, DPGS was assured. For undertaking development activities in the parks such as gym, swings, pathways etc., the Chief Minister also assured help with the support of MLAs Development Fund.