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NCR Suffers As Delhi, UP, H’yana Seal, Unseal at Will

June 04, 2020 06:14 AM


NCR Suffers As Delhi, UP, H’yana Seal, Unseal at Will
Had NCR concept been implemented properly, it would have functioned as Greater Delhi, not as smaller townships: Ex-Delhi chief secy Chandra

New Delhi:

When the UP government sealed its border for DTC buses in 2006, the Delhi government retaliated by impounding a few UP State Roadways buses. As the face-off continued, passengers had to get off DTC buses at Noida and Ghaziabad borders and board another bus to UP, while DTC buses made a U-turn and picked up stranded passengers from UP travelling to Delhi.

Recalling how Anand Vihar ISBT resembled the border of two hostile nations, the then Delhi transport minister, Haroon Yusuf, said: “But we never sealed the borders.” Six months later, Yusuf and his UP counterpart Ram Achal Rajbhar signed a pact and the crisis dissipated. “The traffic between the two states continued. Delhi and UP also allowed all private buses and vehicles,” said Yusuf.

What happens at Delhi’s borders now make the 2006 incident pale in comparison. The issues are different of course but the concept of National Capital Region (NCR) has been challenged both times. Delhi sealed its borders with UP and Haryana on Monday. Haryana did the same on Tuesday, leading to long queues of vehicles at the border with people trying to access the national capital and neighbouring state with passes. Between Delhi, Haryana and UP, the borders have been sealed and opened quite a few times by the respective governments, in the name of containing Covid-19, but succeeding in only inconveniencing the people.

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal has sought a referendum on whether Delhi should seal its borders to control spread of Covid-19 and has even introduced phone lines to seek the public’s views on whether Delhi should reserve its hospital beds only for Delhiites.

Former Delhi chief secretary Shailaja Chandra said “since Noida, Ghaziabad, Gurugram and Faridabad are part of NCR, the sudden sealing of interstate borders questions the fundamental concept of NCR. If the NCR planning concept was properly implemented since 1985, we would have had a Greater Delhi and not smaller townships in neighbouring states. Under NCR, metropolitan authorities for policing, traffic and commuter management were needed but we have failed.”

“The Delhi government has raised a question mooted in the 1990s — should ‘outsiders’ have the right to be treated in Delhi hospitals or should Delhi government hospitals be reserved only for ‘Delhiites’? I was the medical and public health secretary in the Delhi Administration in 1991 when it was first raised. We felt super specialty services should be accessible to all Indians but not without referral from a designated medical authority from the home state. But no government ever took a call on referrals and even AIIMS has suffered. Referrals must be introduced and non-speciality cases should not be crowding tertiary hospitals.

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