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Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal announces water bill waiver months ahead of assembly elections

 

Its election season in Delhi and sops are raining. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday announced a waiver of all arrears of consumers towards Delhi Jal Board, a government agency responsible for the supply of potable water to the most of the National Capital Territory. The waiver comes days after the state government announced sops for power consumer bringing down electricity bills.

The announcement from Kejriwal comes ahead of the assembly elections in Delhi which are scheduled early next year. Kejriwal said households will be entitled to waiver on the principal amount of arrears depending on the category of colonies (graded from A to H) they are located in—25% for upscale colonies, 50% for middle-income localities and 100% for the lower-income localities.

The chief minister said the move was an open invite to the people of Delhi to join the mainstream and install water meters. “Only those consumers who have installed meters before November 30 will get the benefit of this scheme.”

The scheme, according to figures shared by the government, is likely to benefit around 2.20 million households.

Commercial users can get full waiver on late payment surcharge (LPSC) if they pay the principal arrear amount due on March 31, 2019, maximum in three instalments, but all before November 30, 2019, said the CM said, adding that commercial users are entitled to no waiver on the principal amount.

The arrears, the CM said, amounts to around Rs 2500 crore for domestic users and Rs 1500 for commercial users on this date. “It involves cases in which people did not pay their bills as well as households which could not be billed by the Delhi Jal Board for technical issues or their own fault,” said Kejriwal.

The scheme, Kejriwal said, is expected to help the Delhi government recover around Rs 600 crore arrears.

In an announcement on August 1, Kejriwal had made electricity completely free for residents who consume up to 200 units of power every month, a move which he claimed would also result in reducing the increasing peak load of the national capital.

Kejriwal had added that households consuming anything between 201 and 400 units per month will have to pay their electricity bill but approximately 50% of it will be subsidised by the government.

The chief minister said the amount that the Delhi government will have to bear for the restructured subsidy will be nearly the same as now. When asked about the timing of the announcement, he had said, “It has been a journey which has taken its own time. We have worked hard over the years to ensure bill amounts go down, power companies are in better financial condition, power infrastructure is better and residents get round the clock power supply.”