Union minister Vijay Goel today urged the newly elected BJP councillors to "work aggressively" towards bringing development in slum areas of Delhi with a special focus on sanitation.
Addressing a gathering of party councillors, who would soon assume charge, the youth affairs and sports minister also asked them to contribute to the Centre's 'Adopt a Slum' programme.
"Under the Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan (NYKS) of our (sports) ministry, slums would be adopted in the 11 districts of Delhi. We should work on developing these slums to such a degree that even PM Modiji appreciates it.
"As councillors, we are garlanding you on your new job, but remember each garland is a responsibility ... And you must work on it," he said.
The Union minister said Delhi has about 700 slums and education, health, sanitation, law and order are the areas where they face major issues. In the first phase, 100 slums will be adopted.
Goel was speaking at a felicitation function hosted at his official residence here. The BJP had won 181 of the 270 wards in the MCD polls, and nearly half of the councillors are women.
"About 100-120 councillors participated in the meet. None of the three women mayoral nominees attended the function," a senior party member said.
The BJP is set to get all its three mayors elected unopposed, polls for which would be held soon.
Goel also said his ministry has changed the age limit for NYKS membership to 15 to 29, following which "now, we have about 1.5-2 lakh youth members. Also, we have Nehru Yuva Volunteers, who used to get only Rs 2,500 as a stipend. We have raised it to Rs 5,000".
"As part of our outreach programme, we will hold our first 'Slum Run' on May 26. This would cover six Delhi Assembly constituencies including Wazirpur, Model Town, Chandni Chowk, Timarpur and Burari. Eventually, we will have a city-level final event, but that would be held in a stadium," the minister said.
"The idea is to take development to slums and make them feel integrated ... And not consider them as dirt-filled places. Also, we plan to have Rotary and Lions Club adopt slums here and then business houses and industries, but we will decide as to which slums would be given," he added.
"We have asked the councillors to fill up a form, wherein they will give details about their areas so that we can make them partners in this programme. The NYKs will help in this mission," Goel said.
South Delhi MP Parvesh Verma recalled the contribution of his father as a councillor before he became the chief minister of Delhi.
"In 1977, my father was a councillor and I know of his dedication. He believed in civic service and would even enter the sewer and clean it himself, before any safai karmachari would, to send out a message of greater public good," he said.
The BJP had fielded all fresh faces in the municipal polls this year, and the party now says the new hands would be guided by old leaders.
Renu Jaju, 52, who won from Shalimar Bagh (North) in the NDMC on a BJP ticket, said, "I may be a first-time councillor, but I have been a party worker for 30 years. I will work in the areas of health, education and sanitation.
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