Private power distribution companies (discoms) may be good enough for you and me but the criteria changes when it comes to the city’s VVIPs.
In a Cabinet meeting held on Monday, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and her ministers chose to shoot down a proposal to allow BSES to supply power in the Lutyen’s Zone, catered to by NDMC at present.
The decision apparently came in the wake of a decision by the Centre to keep the so-called VIP zone a preserve of the NDMC.
Interestingly, the Delhi government had agreed in principle to allow a discom to distribute power in central Delhi a few years ago.
“But after perusal by Central ministries, minister of state for home affairs, it was decided that a second licence should not be issued,” said a senior government official, requesting anonymity as he was not authorised to discuss Cabinet decisions.
“The whole matter of the special character of NDMC areas (central Delhi) was raised. VIPs live in the NDMC areas,” said the official. A number of vital security installations are also located there.
But the decision has RWA representatives hot under the collar.
“Why have the VIPs and politicians been spared from ‘erratic’ private distribution companies that rule other parts of Delhi where almost 90 per cent of Delhi’s population lives? Delhi government has taken the plea that the area being a VIP Zone, the government was not willing to take any risk as the NDMC is already ensuring 24X7 power supply,” said Anil Sood of Vasant Kunj RWA.
NDMC also charges a lower tariff rate for power.
“NDMC sells power at a lower price in its area as compared to private discoms in the rest of Delhi, and NDMC is still in profit. The government should immediately stop this discrimination between two zones of Delhi,” said Varinder Arora, convenor, URJA.
There are others, however, who feel the powers that be were merely trying to avoid paying competitive rates for the electricity they consume.
“Once power is privatised in central Delhi, power bills of VIPs, government agencies will go up and recovery of dues will be more aggressive. These people have lot of arrears,” said Pankaj Aggarwal, Delhi RWA Joint Front.