India

How Arvind Kejriwal is trying to transform Delhi with the help of Seoul

On his first official bilateral visit after becoming Delhi CM , Kejriwal along with urban development minister Satyendar Jain reviewed Cheonggyecheon stream which has been transformed from waste-water to a tourist spot.

Seoul: Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, who began his three-day official visit to South Korean capital Seoul on Wednesday, signed a twin city agreement with the Seoul Metropolitan Government for co-operation in transportation, climate change, e-governance, and smart city.

On his first official bilateral visit after becoming Delhi CM , Kejriwal along with urban development minister Satyendar Jain reviewed Cheonggyecheon stream which has been transformed from waste-water to a tourist spot.

The twin city agreement ‘Establishment of Friendship City Relationship’ was signed between Seoul mayor Mayor Park Won Soon and Delhi Chief Minister Kejriwal in November 2017. Other areas of cooperation in the agreement include waste water, environment, culture and tourism, public health and youth exchange.

This is what CM Arvind Kejriwal said during the sealing of the pact:

I have an appeal on this occasion to make – let this MoU between the governments of Delhi and Seoul not merely be another piece of an official document, let us try and convert it into a living document, since it is being signed for mutual cooperation in multiple fields.

The governments of both cities can help each other in many ways. Delhi has double the population of Seoul and roughly thrice the area, however, both cities seem to have some common issues to be addressed.

I will briefly, within the time allotted to me for speaking, emphasise on some of the critical areas, which the MoU will address, once it is implemented:

Environment

Environment is one of the key elements of this MoU and rightly so.

Air pollution is a major issue faced by Delhi today and our government is very serious in tackling this menace.

I came across media reports that in January this year Seoul had to declare a pollution emergency due to smog, and you took some emergency measures like making modes of public transport free for a few days and you also restricted the number of vehicles on roads during that period.

Delhi faces smog every winter, sometimes very severe. Reasons cold be different but the fact is that smog has an extremely adverse impact on the health of the people.

Last Saturday, we carried out the single day biggest plantation drive in the history of Delhi, when more than five lakh (half a million) tree saplings and shrubs were planted across the city.

Greening of the city is essential to fight air pollution along with strengthening public transport and controlling dust sources.

I strongly appeal for close cooperation between Delhi and Seoul to combat this menace of air pollution.

Transport

Environment and public transport are very closely linked and are extremely important for cities like Delhi and Seoul.

I had heard a lot about the public transport of Seoul and whatever little I have seen over the last three days here; your public transport system is very reliable and efficient.

I would like the Delhi and Seoul governments to work closely, since my city needs to learn a lot about an efficient public transport system.

Wastewater

Delhi faces an acute water crisis in summer months since it does not have its own sources of water and is dependent on neighbouring states for supply of water as decided by existing laws.

The only river passing through Delhi – Yamuna, faces serious water pollution problems, which we are trying to fix.

I see a huge potential for cooperation with Seoul in recycling waste water.

Infrastructure

When you see the modern Seoul today, it is difficult to imagine that this city had been ravaged in the Korean War in 1950.

In about 68 years, such a beautiful city with wonderful planning is a tribute to the hard work of the people of this city.

International media rates Seoul as one of the best cities,

Delhi’s Urban Development Department will be more than eager to take help from you in whichever manner possible to develop Delhi in a similar way. The Urban Development Minister Mr Satyendar Jain is present with me in the MoU signing ceremony.

There are many other priority areas in which Seoul and Delhi need to work closely in the spirit of the Friendship and Cooperation Agreement for the betterment of the people of both the cities.

I extend a warm invitation to the Seoul Metropolitan Government to visit Delhi and take our mutual cooperation forward.

I express my sincere gratitude for all that you have done for our delegation and the people of Delhi

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