On his first day in office, Delhi’s water minister Rajendra Pal Gautam said the issues of inflated water bills and shortage of supply that emerged ahead of the municipal elections could be politically motivated.
Gautam, who replaced Kapil Mishra, on Saturday said that he has instructed Delhi Jal Board officials to submit a report within a week on inflated water bills reported by residents prior to the elections.
“Water bills of several residents used to be zero till December because of our free water scheme. But they suddenly started getting bills running into thousands of rupees just ahead of the municipal corporation elections,” Gautam said.
“Many in certain areas, despite enough water supply with the board, complained about sudden scarcity. I feel there certainly has been some political motivation. Let the report come and then I will be able to tell more,” he said.
Just a day after he took oath as a Delhi government minister, Gautam swung into action as he conducted several surprise inspections at DJB offices at GTB Enclave in Dilshad Garden and Yamuna Vihar. Being the chairperson of the DJB, he also convened a meeting of top officials.
The minister said that all the meter readers of DJB would be warned following several complaints of incorrect meter readings. Besides, he also said that the “24x7 drinking water supply through taps” project will soon be extended to another area. On March 5, the AAP government had launched the project on a pilot basis in South Delhi’s Navjivan Vihar.
Asked if he found anything wrong in the decision-making of former Water Minister Kapil Mishra, Gautam said that he doesn’t have any ill-will against anyone but whoever is found involved in wrongdoing would not be spared.
He further said that in the next board meeting of the DJB he would discuss the issue of dirty water faced in some areas. “It would need some amendments. Using pipelines that are more than 10 years old could be a reason,” he said.