A Veteran bureaucrat has recalled how late Sheila Dikshit succeeded in ensuring power supply and Ganga water to Delhi, both considered difficult tasks. 

Dr. Arup Roy Choudhury, former Chairman, NBCC & NTPC has penned this tribute for Commonwealthnews.com 


This is a tribute to an administrator who taught me the virtue of benevolence and kindness. 

She was a dignified, strong and matured leader. In my interactions with her I found that she was fearless when it came to taking difficult decisions keeping mind the need to complete projects on time. 

Without her we could not have untangled the Muradnagar-Sonia Vihar water pipeline issue between Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and NBCC. 

I was the smallest guy as CMD NBCC both in stature and age (I was only 44) but she listened attentively to every word I said and tackled the brash Akhand Pratap Singh (Chairman UP Jal Nigam and later Chief Secretary, UP) in a way which only she could do. 

The project got completed in time and Delhi got Ganga water. Later, when I was CMD, NTPC, she helped me resolve the dispute over non-payment by BSES which almost reached a stage of NTPC disconnecting power to Delhi. 

She was unwell and our meeting was held in her hospital suite annex. 

This may seem a small story today, but we miss such broad minded, magnanimous leaders. 

When I informed her that I was having to disconnect power to Delhi, she mildly rebuked me by reminding me that the central Government also was Congress and how dare I regulate Delhi’s power supply? 

But she readily understood that if I buckled before Delhi, I won’t be able to stand up to UP and Rajasthan. 

She understood my logic and immediately asked BSES to pay up. I know she also helped BSES to raise money from IDBI. As an administrator, she played a role that was constructive and accommodating and not one of an obstructionist. 

As a major sponsor of Commonwealth Games (CWG) I was sitting in the VIP box during opening functions and when the credits were announced the largest roar was for her. A rather innocent foreigner I overhear was asking his host “who is this Sheila Dixit? Is she a rock star?” 

The roar, actually, was derisive because of public dissatisfaction over delays in preparations of the Games. But even in that moment of adversity, Sheila Dikshit stood out. 

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