Solar policy another point of contention between AAP and Delhi LG | Latest News Delhi - Hindustan Times

Solar policy another point of contention between AAP and Delhi LG

Feb 29, 2024 06:08 AM IST

Atishi said that LG is behaving like the leader of the opposition. LG secretariat officials said that the LG had raised some questions on the policy, and not stalled it

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in Delhi on Wednesday opened yet another front in its ongoing tussle with the lieutenant governor as Delhi assembly passed a censure motion against LG VK Saxena, the Delhl power minister Atishi alleging that the LG stalled the implementation of the Delhi solar policy, which was cleared by the Arvind Kejriwal cabinet in January by raising “baseless objections”.

Delhi power minister Atishi at a press conference in New Delhi on Wednesday. (HT Photo)
Delhi power minister Atishi at a press conference in New Delhi on Wednesday. (HT Photo)

Speaking in the assembly, Atishi said that LG is behaving like the leader of the opposition. Following this, AAP MLA Rajesh Gupta brought a censure motion against the LG, which was passed by the House.

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Hitting back at the allegations, officials in the LG secretariat said that the LG had raised some questions on the policy, and not stalled it. They said that the Delhi government was “misleading” the people with by propagating lies.

“The solar policy paves the way for making electricity free for people who consume more than 400 units of power per month. It will enable Delhi able to produce 20% its the electricity demand with solar power by 2027. The solar policy has been stalled by the LG. The file was sent to the LG long ago, but the LG sat on the file. I raised the matter with the LG many times, and requested him to clear it. On Tuesday, the LG raised illogical objections to the policy and sent it back. It will lead to delays…the LG wants to ensure that before the model code of conduct comes into force (for Lok Sabha elections) the policy is not cleared. LG is working like the leader of opposition and trying to stall the work by the Arvind Kejriwal government,” Atishi said.

On January 30, Kejriwal unveiled the new solar policy, rolling out larger incentives and subsidies for people to install solar power systems at their homes and businesses so that they can electricity costs.

The Delhi government is also engaged in a tug of war with the LG office over the one-time settlement scheme for water bills. The Delhi government has alleged that senior government officials were not putting up the scheme for approval before the cabinet at the behest of the LG and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). However, the LG office on Tuesday denied the allegations saying the Delhi Jal Board was yet to finalise the scheme.

Later, in a press conference at the assembly, Atishi said the LG’s move was aimed at securing votes for the BJP in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. “The LG held back Kejriwal government’s flagship Delhi solar policy on hold for weeks and then marked irrelevant, bogus queries on it. The LG is doing this to stop the solar policy from being implemented before the imposition of the model code of conduct for the Lok Sabha election is implemented. The LG must not forget the dignity of his constitutional position and should work in the interest of the people of Delhi. He must not play politics on Delhi solar policy to help BJP’s interests,” Atishi said.

Officials in the LG secretariat said the Delhi government’s claims are misleading because the LG has not stalled the policy. “The Delhi government is lying to mislead the people. LG has not stalled the policy. The policy does not contain any provision which will lead to consumers getting zero power bills. On the contrary, there are provisions in the policy which will benefit private power companies. LG has sought details on these provisions,” the officials said.

They said that the LG has also sought to know whether the policy contains provisions to for synergy in alignment with the central government subsidies on solar energy production.

On January 29, 2024, Kejriwal cabinet passed the Delhi solar policy. At the core of the policy are two incentives. One, a subsidy for people to install solar systems: the government will give a subsidy of 2,000 per kilowatt (KW) of the cost of the system. A typical 2KW solar installation costs around 90,000 which, with the subsidy, would come to 86,000. The subsidy has been capped at a maximum of 10,000.

Two, people will be paid 1-3 per unit of solar energy they generate. This will effectively help reduce people’s power bills. Additionally, every unit of solar energy generated will cancel out a unit a person consumes from the power grid, effectively further reducing the power they consume from the discoms.

“At present, the Kejriwal government provides free electricity for up to 200 units and a 50% subsidy to those households that consume 201-400 units. Through the new solar policy, consumers using electricity above 400 units would be able to receive zero bills. The people of Delhi welcomed the solar policy,” Atishi said in the assembly.

“On January 29, this policy was passed by the Delhi cabinet. After that, an official notification of the cabinet decision was released. Thereafter, the file was sent to the LG. It is a matter of grave concern that such a good policy which is in the best interest of the people and environment was put on hold by the LG. The power department followed up with the LG office multiple times as the government needed to notify the policy. When LG couldn’t delay the file any longer, he raised irrelevant queries and objections and sent the file to us,” Atishi said in the House.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said the solar policy is not a Delhi-specific initiative, but a national policy. Not only state governments across the country but also the central government are working on it, and there is no confrontation, the Delhi unit of the party said. “Hundreds of government and private solar power generating units were already operational in Delhi before March 2023. The BJP-ruled Municipal Corporation of Delhi had installed several solar plants in its schools and offices, reducing electricity bills to zero. As soon as the AAP came to power in the MCD in January 2024, they stopped the exemption in property tax given to group housing societies installing green energy (solar power) plants, which shows how serious they are. The water bill settlement scheme and solar plant scheme are just tools to divert attention from the Kejriwal government’s corruption,” said Harish Khurana, Delhi BJP secretary.

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    Alok K N Mishra is a journalist with the Hindustan Times, New Delhi. He writes on governance, policy and politics. He is an ardent follower of politics and is fascinated about making politics work better for the middle-class and the poor. He loves to discuss and predict the national political behaviour. Before shifting to Delhi, he covered political instability, governance, and misgovernance besides Maoists insurgency in Jharkhand for almost half a decade. He started out in 2010 as a city reporter with Times of India, Patna.

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