Jagmohan: Remembering former L-G whose bold decisions helped create ‘modern Delhi’


Express News Service

NEW DELHI:  Many had criticised former union minister and lieutenant governor of Delhi, Jagmohan for his style of functioning and desperate pursuit of making Delhi slum free in 1970s but it was he who first envisaged and initiated transformation of the national capital. 

Remembering Jagmohan for his bold decision and unwavering approach, his colleagues and former government officials, who worked closely with him, said he had actually laid the foundation of ‘modern Delhi’  the ninth city of Delhi.

As secretary of land and building department in the Central government in 1961-62, Jagmohan formulated a policy for large scale land acquisition for urban development in Delhi which was highly appreciated and that became the basis for implementation of the first Master Plan of Delhi (MPD) 1962. 

Later when he joined the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) as its vice chairman, he introduced the idea of housing in the city. The first housing was launched in 1967, which played a crucial role in providing more than a million houses to the people of Delhi.  

Parallelly, cooperative group housing scheme (CGHS) was also started by the authority and colonies like Vasant Kunj and Mayur Vihar came into existence. In the late 1960s, Jagmohan initiated a large-scale drive to clear slums, makeshift structures, and other encroachments located along the Yamuna river bank—behind Red Fort and Nigambodh Ghat –, Turkman Gate, and Purana Qila complex. Displaced slum dwellers were relocated to 36 newly carved colonies such as Madangir, Dakshinpuri, and Trilokpuri, where they were allocated 25 square metre plots.

“He took a tough stand against unauthorized construction. He was a disciplinarian and was of the belief that people in the capital of the country should never live in slums. Jagmohan was a planning oriented person and had long term vision. Around 1990, he toyed with the idea of introducing Metro in Delhi,” said AK Jain, former commissioner (Planning) of DDA. 

Jagmohan, a former bureaucrat, passed away after a brief illness in Delhi late on Monday. He was 93. He also served as L-G of Goa and governor of Jammu and Kashmir and was a minister in Atal Bihari Vajpayee government.

In 2003, Jagmohan as the culture minister ensured that Indian Army vacated the historic Red Fort, which was under its occupation since 1947. Three sub-cities –Rohini, Dwarka, and Narela– were also Jamohan’s initiatives, added Jain. Former union minister Vijay Goel said that Jagmohan had always been in favour of Delhi’s development and took bold decisions.

“He was an honest bureaucrat and best administrator. Delhi’s MPs were against him Jagmohan kick-started a drive to remove unauthorised constructions across the city. I was the only MP who stood by him. I even invited my constituency Chandni Chowk and showed him illegal construction,” he said. 

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