Clean up Delhi, Sushma tells civic bodies as capital readies to host India-ASEAN summit

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Clean up Delhi, Sushma tells civic bodies as capital readies to host India-ASEAN summit

External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj met Delhi's civic body chiefs and asked them to carry out a quick campaign to spruce up the city for diplomats who will be attending January's India-ASEAN summit.

Delhi has begun gearing up for the India-ASEAN summit that begins on January 19 and will continue till 30th.

External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj on Thursday conducted a meeting of all the three MCD (Municipal Corporation) mayors asking them to do a quick Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, conduct massive plantation drives across the city and bring down air pollution levels.

She also directed them to spruce up historical monuments and tourist spots like Chandni Chowk sparkle where diplomats from 10 nations may be taken to visit.

All gardens, roadsides and traffic roundabout also have to be beautified immediately, officials quoted her as saying. India is organising the ASEAN-India Connectivity Summit in New Delhi next month.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in Philippines recently that this will be "the biggest ASEAN-focused business event the country has ever organised", and representatives from the participating countries will also be invited to the January 26, Republic Day, celebrations.

PLAN SOON

Chairman of the standing committee of the NDMC, Tilak Raj Kataria, said a meeting of senior functionaries would be convened to work out a plan on a sanitationcum-beautification drive.

South Delhi municipal commissioner PK Goel said the minister has directed the SDMC to beautify surroundings around archaeologically significant monuments and tourist places, by nurturing green areas and illuminating monuments.

"Installation of uniform unipoles and kiosks at designated places, resurfacing of major roads under the jurisdiction of SDMC, beautification of areas around metro stations, and flyovers would also be done," the SDMC said in a statement.

The SDMC has also been asked to redesign its prominent parks to give them an "ornamental look."

The historical places and tourist place which are to be given a new look by refurbishing their surroundings, include, Safdarjung's Tomb, Qutub Minar, Nizamuddin Dargah area, Raj Ghat, Humayun Tomb and Lotus Temple.

POLLUTION WOES

The three corporations have also been trying to bring down air pollution levels by closing down polluting factories, halting construction work and sprinkling water on roads and plants.

High air pollution has been a concern among residing diplomats in Delhi as well with the dean of Diplomatic Corps, Frank Hans Dannenberg Castellanos, meeting officials of the MEA, including chief of protocol Sanjay Verma.

He raised concerns of envoys over air pollution impacting their health. He shared these concerns after many diplomats based here approached him to raise it with the Centre.