Dept had expressed ‘inability’ to implement scheme citing ‘lack of expertise’.
New Delhi: Days after its senior officer expressed “inability” to implement the free Wi-Fi scheme citing “lack of expertise”, the Public Works Department (PWD) of the Delhi government will finally execute the ambitious plan in the national capital.
Free Wi-Fi at public places across the city was one of Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) key poll promises.
The development comes after a top official asked PWD engineer-in-chief Rakesh Kumar Agrawal to go ahead with the project. A Cabinet note has also been prepared to execute the free Wi-Fi plan in the city.
During his Budget speech in the Delhi Assembly in March, deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia had said that the Wi-Fi project, which was earlier with the information and technology (IT) department, was given to the PWD to expedite the work.
However, the officer in-charge of the project had recently conveyed to senior officials of the department that the project should be executed by the IT department as the Public Works Department “lacks expertise” in carrying out such projects.
“It has now been cleared that the PWD will execute the Wi-Fi project. A top PWD official has asked the engineer-in-chief to go ahead with the project. A cabinet note regarding the implementation of the project has been prepared,” said a senior official, who did not wish to be identified.
In its 2018-19 Budget, the Delhi government has allocated `100 crore to provide Wi-Fi facility, even though the government did not mention a time-line for the completion of the project.
In February this year, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal had said that the AAP government was working on three to four models for implementing the project.
When the AAP formed its government in Delhi, the project was initially assigned to the Dialogue and Development Commission (DDC) of Delhi chaired by the chief minister.
In March 2016, the DDC had started first free Wi-Fi facility on a three-month pilot basis in Sant Nagar market in North Delhi’s Burari.
Thereafter, the ruling dispensation had promised that over 500 locations across east Delhi would be made high-speed Wi-Fi zones by December, 2016, but there was no progress.