Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who completed his three-day visit to South Korea, on Friday signed a twin city agreement (Memorandum of Understanding ) with Seoul Metropolitan Government to bring a mutual cooperation and friendship between the two cities. The two Governments will further work closely in the fields of environment, tourism, waste water and solid waste management, infrastructure and public health among others.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the ‘Friendship and Cooperation Agreement’ was signed by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Seoul mayor Park Won-Soon in the South Korean capital.
Asking for a close cooperation and friendship with Seoul Metropolitan Government, Kejriwal said, “I have an appeal to make-let this MoU between the Governments of Delhi and Seoul not merely be another piece of an official document, let us try and convert it into a living document, since it is being signed for mutual cooperation in multiple fields.”
He expressed hope that Delhi will develop on the lines of Seoul which has emerged as a “beautiful” city in the past 68 years despite being ravaged in the Korean War in 1950.
Further speaking on the event, Delhi CM added, “Delhi’s Urban Development Department will be more than eager to take help from you in whichever manner possible to develop Delhi in a similar way.”
Appreciating the idea of Seoul to curb the increasing pollution that occurred in January, Kejriwal said, “Seoul had to declare a pollution emergency due to smog, and you took some emergency measures like making modes of public transport free for a few days and you also restricted the number of vehicles on roads during that period. Last Saturday, we carried out the single day biggest plantation drive in Delhi, when more than five lakh (half a million) tree saplings and shrubs were planted across the city. So, I strongly appeal for close cooperation between Delhi and Seoul to combat this menace of air pollution.”
The ‘Twinning Agreement’ focus on nearly 11 areas for exchange of expertise and cooperation, which incudes environment, culture, tourism, smart city, transportation, education, land use planning and management, science and technology, MICE industry, waste water and solid waste management, infrastructure and public health.
“Delhi faces an acute water crisis in summer months since it does not have its own sources of water and is dependent on neighboring states for supply of water as decided by existing laws. The only river passing through Delhi - Yamuna, faces serious water pollution problems, which we are trying to fix” Kejriwal said after the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding.
According to the MoU, “The main purpose between the MoU is to establish friendship and co-operation and create mechanisms for its implementation within the framework of their respective jurisdiction. Further, the two cities will undertake exchanges and interaction between education institutions and sharing experiences of the mutual interests. Delhi government will solicit support of its Urban development Department and other departments for implementing all the relevant aspects of the agreement.”
The MoU also asks the Delhi government to create and operationalise a ‘Twinning Cell’ at the Urban Development Department and to form a committee to support the cell. Besides, it will support activity related workshops, conduct community participation activities, and maintain documentation.
Maintain proper documentation regarding the various activites undertaken in pursuances of agreement and send annual reports to the state government concerned and the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs and the Ministry of External Affairs besides placing on the relevant website. The Seoul Metropolitan Government will replicate the same actions at its end,” reads the MoU.
The two parties will conduct regular meetings to discuss and communicate over the programmes, projects and activities to be undertaken as per the agreement. Both the city governments will also develop an annual joint action plan and ensure financial resources to support the exchanges and activities.
The Principal Secretary (Urband Development), Delhi government and Director General, International Cooperation Bureau, Seoul, will act as nodal officers for the Agreement. The ‘Twinning Agreement’ will remain in force till three years from September 14, 2018, and it could be amended by written agreement between the two parties.