Who's missing from this picture?

Published: 11 November, 2011 06:36 IST | Amit Kumar |

Sports minister Ajay Maken, MP from the area, was absent at the unveiling of this multi-level parking lot. He and Sheila Dikshit haven't been seen together at any public function in the last three years.

Sports minister Ajay Maken, MP from the area, was absent at the unveiling of this multi-level parking lot. He and Sheila Dikshit haven't been seen together at any public function in the last three years.

The occasion was the inauguration of the Capital's first fully-automatic car parking lot at Sarojini Nagar market. Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit was there, so was Union Urban Development Minister Kamal Nath. One man was conspicuous by his absence - Union Sports Minister Ajay Maken. The MP from New Delhi, under whose constituency Sarojini Nagar falls, allegedly doesn't share a very cordial relationship with the CM.

Set in stone: Delhi CM Sheila Dikshit and Union Urban Development
Minister Kamal Nath in front of the inauguration stone of the city's first
fully-automated parking lot at Sarojini Nagar, with Sports Minister Ajay
Maken's name on it (encircled). pic/mid day

Too busy?
According to sources, at the time when the multi-level parking lot was being inaugurated, Maken was addressing a press conference at Sports Authority of India (SAI). "As per our information, the sports minister hadn't being invited to attend the function," said a source requesting anonymity.

File photo of Ajay Maken Pics/Imtiyaz Khan

Sources also added that one should not be surprised that Maken and Dikshit didn't attended the programme together. "The leaders have not attended a single public function jointly in the last three years. As it is mandatory to mention the name of local MP, Maken's name was mentioned in the inauguration stone," added a source close to the Union minister.

Close watch: Sheila Dikshit and Kamal Nath have a look at the systems
inside the parking lot (below-left) at Sarojini Nagar in New Delhi on

Maken was not available to comment on the matter. However, people close to him claimed that it was Maken as urban development minister, who drafted the Delhi Master Plan that had provision for multi-level parking. The Sarojini Nagar parking lot is in his constituency because of Maken's initiative and hard work," he added.

Strong words
On the other hand, in the presence of the Delhi CM, Maken came in for criticism from his colleague at the Centre. Urban Development Minister Kamal Nath's attack on Master Plan for Delhi (MPD) 2021 is being seen as a direct affront to Maken who prided himself as the author of the plan. The MPD 2021 was passed when Maken was minister of state in the urban development ministry, with Jaipal Reddy as his superior. "Doubting the master plan puts a question mark on how much Maken was aware about the city's needs and growth. If 50-60 per cent of the master plan is irrelevant, it puts a big question mark on the credibility of Maken's vision," said a political analyst.

Kamal Nath on Thursday said that the proliferation of illegal colonies in the capital is a result of the "irrelevant" Delhi Master Plan 2021 that will be revised next year. "Around 50-60 percent of Delhi Master Plan is irrelevant, as a result of which several colonies have sprung up in the capital. The plan will be revised in 2012," said Nath. "It is easy to draft a plan in a walled office but such plans must be made in keeping with the ground realities," added the minister.

Drive in
The state-of-the-art parking lot built at a cost of Rs 80 crore under the Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) mode has been named South Square. The multi-level parking lot is fully automated and has car lifts, pallets and computerised control systems that will be operational round the clock. It has room for 824 vehicles. People can use the parking by purchasing a 'car park card', drive into the facility and leave the car at the basement, from where it will be automatically taken to the parking area. As the car reaches the Parking Window, the registration number is scanned, in-time is recorded and the information from the camera is relayed to the operation system. After the process, the driver will get a smart card which he can use to take the vehicle back. The automated parking system has state-of-the-art security check and car scanning technologies with improved security, safety for parking of the cars in minimum space. It's built by New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) and DLF. People will have to pay Rs 10 for the first two hours and then Rs 10 for each subsequent hour up to a maximum of Rs 40 per day. Cars can be parked from 2nd to 8th floor while the ground and first floors will have retail outlets and restaurants. The parking lot will have common space and circulation spaces that will include access corridors, lift lobby, passages, corridors and common toilets. It also has underground water tanks, pump room, electric sib-stations and a sewage treatment plant.

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