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HindustanTimes Mon,22 Dec 2014

No subsidy on water, power from April 1

HT Correspondent , Hindustan Times  New Delhi, February 26, 2014
First Published: 22:55 IST(26/2/2014) | Last Updated: 22:57 IST(26/2/2014)

The Delhi chief secretary made it clear on Wednesday that no provision for the power subsidy and free water announced by the previous Aam Aadmi Party government was made in the interim budget.

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"The subsidy is available only till March 31. We have not made any provision in the interim budget," chief secretary SK Srivastava told reporters, clearing the air on whether the sops announced by the AAP government would continue or not.

Electricity is set to get costlier from April 1 for consumers covered by the subsidy till now. But the Delhi Jal board can continue giving free water up to 20,000 litres every month if the board of directors decides to do so.

"If the L-G/Centre conveys inability to compensate us, the board will have to take a call on the continuation of the scheme," a Delhi Jal Board official said. If the subsidy has to be continued at all, the funds will have to come from the Jal Board's own coffers. It will have to be cleared by the board of directors, which has members from both the BJP and Congress.

The board will meet on February 28 and continuation of the scheme has not been listed yet on the agenda," the official said.

Reacting to the reports that the Arvind Kejriwal government's decision to provide up to 20,000 litres of free water per month may be discontinued from April 1, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Wednesday alleged that the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre is taking revenge on Delhiites.

"If these reports are indeed true, it is clear that the Congress-led UPA's central government is hell bent on taking a revenge on the people of Delhi for ousting the corrupt Sheila Dikshit government from the capital," an AAP statement said.

The decision to provide lifeline water to the people was taken in the Delhi Jal Board meeting chaired by chief minister Kejriwal in his capacity as the chairperson of the Board on December 30, 2013.

"The DJB decision cannot be reversed by either the Lieutenant Governor or the Centre, since the Board is an autonomous body and any undue interference in its functioning is condemnable," it said, adding, "There is no major financial implication involved in continuing the free water scheme."

The DJB has sufficient financial resources to meet this need for people with genuine water meter connections. The Board, which has an existing budget of nearly Rs. 4000 cr per year can, without any difficulty, provide 20,000 litres of water per every metered connection for the entire year for merely R160 crore. Therefore, the argument that the AAP government scheme was imposing a financial burden on government resources is misleading and bogus."

The Congress and the BJP are both responsible for imposition of this anti-people decision, the AAP said and declared it will take this issue to the people and expose the unholy alliance between the Congress and the BJP.


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