The AAP government in on Thursday hiked the water tariff by 10% for households consuming more than the free supply of 20,000 litres per month.
About a month after the AAP announced a scheme of free water, Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia chaired a Delhi Jal Board meeting and cleared the proposal even as BJP and Congress said it was a “betrayal of people’s trust”.
The hike will be applicable only to households which consume more than 20,000 litres of water per month. Those getting free water will continue getting it free.
“The hike has been approved in order to keep the financial health of the water utility intact,” an official statement said. The new rates became effective from Thursday.
The government also decided to regularise all unauthorised water connections by taking a fee of Rs 3,310 which was earlier Rs 20,000. This will encourage consumers to go for authorised connections and check revenue loss.
Sisodia defended the decision and said free water to citizens can only be provided to an extent. “Water is free for those who consume up to an extent. We have to also think about saving water,” he said.
The government will purchase 250 water tankers to help people living in areas not linked with piped water network. The gover nment also announced approval of 100 per cent rebate on the late payment surcharge amount for domestic water consumers, who need to clear their water bills by March 31.
Who said what
Sharply criticising the decision, both BJP and Congress have accused Arvind Kejriwal-led party of going back on its electoral promises.
While BJP state president Satish Upadhyay tersely observed that "conditions" to AAP's promises are being revealed now, Congress chief Ajay Maken said the move would put "additional burden" on common people.
Upadhyay further termed the decision as a "stab on people's back".
"It is shocking that in today's important meeting of Delhi Jal Board no proposal has come for laying new water supply line in any area of Delhi but instead the Board has come up with a proposal to buy 250 new tankers," he said.
Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, who on Thrusday chaired the 121th Board Meeting of Delhi Jal Board, gave his nod to increase the water tariff with an immediate effect. However, people consuming water up to 20,000 litres will not be affected due to the DJB's decision.
Maken said the government had "betrayed" the trust and confidence of the people of Delhi, who had believed in the "false promises" made by the AAP before the Delhi Assembly elections, "only to regret now".