NEW DELHI: Delhi Lieutenant Governor (LG) Anil Baijal sought a report from Chief Secretary Vijay Dev on Thursday on the city’s preparedness for the vaccination of people above 18 years of age against COVID-19, his first significant move since the GNCTD (Amendment) Act, 2021, which says the Delhi “government” means the LG, came into force.
The provisions of the Act came into effect from April 27, according to a notification issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).
Baijal’s office also created a Twitter handle — @RajNiwasDelhi — saying it will share official announcements, press releases, reactions and other useful information for the residents of the national capital.
About the next phase of the vaccination drive, the Raj Niwas tweeted: “Hon’ble Lt Governor has sought a report from the Chief Secretary on the preparedness for the roll out of the vaccination program for people above 18 yrs of age.”
In another tweet, the LG Secretariat said Baijal was not aware of the government’s recent order setting up a COVID care facility at a private hotel for judges, responding to Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLA Rajesh Gupta’s April 27 tweet, in which he had alleged that the LG had set up the facility.
“Leave apart taking the decision, Hon’ble Lt Governor was unaware of the order till much after its issue. That the Hon’ble CM Shri @ArvindKejriwal has also been tagged in the tweet, denigrating the Constitutional Office of Lt Governor is unfortunate,” the LG office tweeted.
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Earlier this week, the government withdrew the order.
The MHA notification issued on April 27 seals the primacy given to the LG, a nominee of the Centre, in the Act.
The Delhi government will now have to take the LG’s permission before taking any action over the subjects that are under its domain.
According to the legislation, the “government” in Delhi now means the “Lieutenant Governor”.
“In exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section (2) of section 1 of the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Act, 2021 (15 of 2021), the central government hereby appoints April 27, 2021 as the date on which the provisions of the said Act shall come into force,” stated the notification signed by the Additional Secretary in the MHA, Govind Mohan.
The Act has been notified at a time when the Centre and the Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government are under the spotlight over the handling of the pandemic and the subsequent scarcity of oxygen, hospital beds and essential medicines in the national capital.
The Delhi High Court came down heavily on the AAP government on Tuesday over its “failure” to check black-marketing of oxygen cylinders and crucial medicines needed by COVID-19 patients.
If the state cannot handle the situation, it will ask the Centre to take over gas re-filling units as it cannot let people die, the court said.