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the Delhi government will soon be involving resident welfare associations (rwas) in the capital to participate and monitor the working of the four civic bodies in the state. The step, initiated and supervised by the chief minister's office (cmo), is in the preliminary stage of consultation with the rwas and the four bodies -- the Delhi Vidyut Board (dvb), the Delhi Jal Board (djb), the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (mcd) and the department of environment and forest (def).
A spokesperson of the cmo said that the move to involve the rwas is for greater transparency in governance, better implementation of various programmes and to achieve higher levels of people's satisfaction. Says Sanjeev Pandey, the deputy secretary to the chief minister, who is also holding discussions with representatives of rwas : "The idea is to implement the panchayat raj kind of deregulation of governance in Delhi."
The decision to involve the rwas was taken after a series of meetings between chief minister Shiela Dixit and representatives of the rwas. A questionnaire was sent to around 1,000 rwas, out of which around 100 replied. The result of the survey showed that the resident's associations were eager to work with the civic bodies and to take some responsibilities like monitoring developmental activities in their areas.
Interestingly, more than 90 per cent of the respondents were interested in working closely with the djb and the def for installing water harvesting methods and managing their parks. In reply to a question on installation of water harvesting technology and popularising the use of harvested water for washing and gardening, 81 per cent of the respondents replied in the affirmative. Similarly for maintaining parks and developing green areas, 94 per cent of the rwas agreed to cooperate with the def.
Encouraged by the response the Delhi government has asked the Central Ground Water Board, Indian Natural Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (intach) and Pani Morcha -- organisations that have been campaigning for water harvesting in Delhi -- to fight the water crisis in the capital and to assist the rwas in transfer and installation of technologies.
There is a conscious effort to create a new set of institutions to facilitate more participation by residents in development activities. "Despite the constraints like limited jurisdiction of the Delhi government, we are determined to go ahead with this initiative," says Pandey. The government has decided to sign memorandums of understanding (mou) with 20 rwas under a pilot project.