Come April 1, Delhiites will no longer enjoy up to 20,000 litres of water free every month — a key manifesto promise of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) — and pay 10% more in water tariff next month. The hike has been in effect since January for consumers not enjoying the subsidy.
“The scheme has been discontinued with effect from April 1 in the absence of budgetary support,” a Delhi Jal Board (DJB) spokesperson confirmed.
As already reported, subsidy on power consumption up to 400 units will also end on Tuesday and consumers will pay unsubsidised electricity bills in full from May.
The water subsidy was the first decision of the AAP government but was under doubt after the government resigned on February 14 since only the ‘vote on account’ was cleared with no funds set aside for the scheme’s continuation in the new financial year.
At a board meeting earlier this month, DJB officials said the subsidy’s continuation was subject to availability of funds from Delhi government since the board had decided DJB would fund the scheme till March 2014 and the government would arrange funds subsequently.
Claiming the move will worsen inflation, AAP spokesperson Manish Sisodia said, “They (Congress and BJP) can think of benefits for Ambani and Adani and not for the aam aadmi. What else can we expect from them?”
BJP leader and DJB member Meera Agrawal, however, claimed the benefits of free water didn’t reach the poor. “It was AAP’s manifesto promise not DJB’s,” she said.