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Dikshit meets Kejriwal, asks for rollback of fixed charge on power bills

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), however, dismissed the allegation saying that during their tenure they had not collected any such funds under the two heads.

delhi Updated: Jun 13, 2019 03:34 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
sheila dikshit,arvind kejriwal,AAP in delhi
Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee (DPCC) President Sheila Dikshit arrives to meet Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, along with other leaders, to discuss the issues of electricity and water in the city, at Chief Minister's residence, Civil Lines, in New Delhi, India, on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Sanchit Khanna/HT PHOTO)

Senior Congress leader Sheila Dikshit on Wednesday met Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and demanded that Rs 7,400 crore collected from residents of Delhi under the heads of fixed charge and surcharge for pension funds in the electricity bills either be returned to them or adjusted in six months.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), however, dismissed the allegation saying that during their tenure they had not collected any such funds under the two heads. The party said the Congress delegation “could not explain” on what basis they had approached Kejriwal with a complaint on the power pricing issue and asserted that the current rates of electricity in Delhi were “cheaper” than what residents paid during the Congress’ rule.

Dikshit, former Delhi chief minister, was part of a seven-member delegation that went to Kejriwal’s Flagstaff Road residence in Delhi on Wednesday. The meeting, senior functionaries of both parties said, was about power tariffs, reported instances of power outages and problems of water shortage in the city.

This was the first such meeting between Dikshit and Kejriwal after the Lok Sabha elections. The meeting came at a time when both the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party have stepped up their attacks on the AAP over issues related to power and water supply – which the AAP asserts to be its biggest achievements – as Delhi gears up for Assembly elections in 2020.

After the meeting on Wednesday, both parties issued contradictory statements about what transpired between the leaders. “She [Dikshit] told the chief minister that over Rs 7,401 crore that have been collected from the people in the name of fixed charges and pension fund should be either returned to the people, or adjusted against electricity bills in the next six months,” the Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee said in a press statement.

It further said, “Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal has agreed to order a probe on how crores of rupees on fixed charges were collected to benefit the power distribution companies after Sheila Dikshit brought this to his notice....Kejriwal admitted that funds were collected in the name of fixed charge... The delegation also asked Arvind Kejriwal to immediately roll back the fixed charges and pension funds (surcharge)...”

But the AAP denied the Congress’ claims and said ‘AAP has not made any such agreement.’ “ There is no question of a probe because no money was ever collected,” a senior AAP leader, present in the meeting, said.

Delhi’s power minister Satyendar Jain organised a press conference in which he compared the electricity bills and net savings during the Congress (2010-13) and the AAP rule and said that power tariff is now cheaper and residents save more every year.

AAP spokesperson Saurabh Bhardwaj said, “Total lies being propagated in the Congress press release. Congress leaders had no answer when CM Kejriwal asked them to explain the alleged scam...”

First Published: Jun 12, 2019 22:52 IST