New Delhi: Octogenarian Congress leader Sheila Dikshit, 81, died on Saturday afternoon in a Delhi hospital. The 3-time Delhi Chief Minister was credited for changing the face of the national capital in her 15-year tenure. She also served as the Governor of Kerala for a brief period between March 11, 2014, and 25 August 25, 2014. But she will always be remembered for her work as the Chief Minister of Delhi.
- Implementation of SC order on CNG: Despite strikes by the transport associations, and several missed deadlines, Sheila Dikshit was able to implement the Supreme Court order on public transport being fuelled by the CNG, replacing diesel. This measure lowered the vehicular pollution. It was a herculean task but effectively implemented. Today, the face of Delhi transport is different than what it used to be before 2001. She had a difficult task to meet SC’s deadline, manage transport associations and keep Delhi running. She converted or phased out 12,000 diesel buses in Delhi.
- Delhi facelift: Widening of roads, creating infrastructure like overbridges and relocation of industrial units were the hallmark of her tenure. Her successes in controlling pollution transformed Delhi from a dying capital to a world-class city.
- Delhi Metro Rail: Her tenure saw one more feather being added to Delhi. The work on Delhi Metro, which is now the lifeline of the city, had started under her. Again a difficult task as it involved several other agencies and clearances for digging including land acquisitions and then a mammoth excise of construction. With a firm hand, she delivered a world-class metro service to the people of Delhi. Now, Delhi-NCR has great connectivity including roads and metro lines. Delhi’s satellite towns –Gurgaon and Noida—are much closer than before.
- 2010 Commonwealth Games: Though marred with controversies, the 2010 Commonwealth Games was organised in East Delhi with great success. It facelifted the entire East Delhi region. The area saw several overbridges, widening of roads, beautification during the Games. But huge corruption charges came up against the organisers. Being a Chief Minister of the state, Sheila Dikshit’s name was also dragged into the controversies.
She was defeated by Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party from New Delhi constituency in a one-on-one fight and since then she had gone into the oblivion. Just before the Lok Sabha polls 2019, the veteran leader was given the charge of Delhi, however, she had little time to revive the Congress. Rest in peace, Sheila Dikshit.