The Delhi government may have regularised 895 unauthorised colonies with an eye on the elections, but there is no clarity on who will foot the bill for the creation and upgrade of infrastructure in these areas.
In a letter sent to the Delhi government, the power regulator has asked the government to make its stand clear on who will pay for developmental work in these colonies. According to sources, if the power distribution companies are made to pay for the upgrade work, this cost would be recovered by increasing power tariff that will have to be borne by residents of all colonies.
“We want to know whether the discoms would pay for the developmental work such as establishing sub-stations, etc., or the residents of these colonies will pay for it. We had sent them a letter some time back,” said PD Sudhakar, chairman of the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC).
The letter written by DERC to the power department states that in case of electrification of areas where a project developer exists (such as Delhi Development Authority, municipal corporations, public works department or private developers) and which necessitate establishment of grid sub-station with associated sub-transmission and distribution network, the commission had decided that the entire expenditure should be borne by the concerned development/sponsoring agency. This was decided to ensure other consumers of Delhi are not burdened with high development costs.
“However, in case of unauthorised colonies for which there is no specific developer, it is understood that in such unauthorised colonies, the Delhi government has decided that the cost of laying sewer lines will be borne by the residents themselves. On similar lines, the cost of electrification in such colonies should also be borne by the residents themselves,” states the letter.
According to sources, the Delhi government — keeping the upcoming elections in mind — is of the view that the power distribution companies will have to pay the cost, which would be recovered through higher power tariff. The power regulator also said that in case of slum clusters, the Delhi government could introduce a special grant so that the burden of capital expenditure is not put on general consumers who have already paid for their share of developmental or electrification costs.