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Kejriwal keeps free-water promise
Delhiites wont pay anything up to 20KL a month * Jal board to foot bill for 3 months * Tariff up by 10%
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 30
Come January 1, each household with a functional meter in Delhi will get up to 667 litres of free water a day for domestic consumption. But, households consuming over this limit will have to pay for the water and other charges as per tarrif, enhanced by 10 per cent, effective January 1.

Fulfilling its election promise, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government on Monday made the announcement after a meeting of the Delhi Jal Board chaired by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal at his residence here in Kausambi due to ill health.

"All domestic consumers with a metered connection will get up to 20 KL (20,000 litres) water free of cost every month from January 1. We will not even levy any existing charges such as water cess and sewerage charge," newly-appointed Delhi Jal Board CEO Vijay Kumar said.

He, however, said if the consumption limit crosses 20 KL, then the consumer will have to pay for the water and other charges. This, AAP leaders say, is in a bid to encourage water conservation.

The decision with which the newly sworn-in government hopes to meet one of its first pre-poll promises of supplying free water will provide big relief to lower-income groups. A mechanism to provide 20 KL water to each household has been worked out and this is the plan for the first three months. The Delhi Jal Board will bear the expenses, said AAP members emerging from the meeting. The party had announced that 700 litres free water will be supplied daily to each household if it comes to power.

In another significant decision, the Jal Board will continue to extend the benefit of the arrear rebate scheme waiver and 30 per cent rebate up to March 31, 2014.

However, residents of areas facing a water crisis such as Sangam Vihar, Deoli, Ambedkar Nagar, Mehrauli, Vasant Vihar and Vasant Kunj would have to wait some more. Work on laying underground pipelines and the crackdown on the prevailing tanker mafia in these areas would begin gradually. The tanker mafia poses a massive political challenge, as most tankers were allegedly run by BJP and Congress leaders.

Earlier, the Delhi Chief Minister did not attend office and chose to work from home. "Running 102 fever since yesterday. Severe loose motions. Sad that I won't be able to attend office today. It was so important to attend office today. God, you made me ill at the wrong time, he tweeted in the morning.

Doctors attending on him said Kejriwal was suffering from high fever and diarrhoea and was responding to treatment. "His fever has come down and diarrhoea is under control. We will wait till evening and then take a decision on administering intravenous fluids," his physician Dr Bipin Mittal said.

Family of five uses around 750 litres

* The WHO recommends a minimum of 140-150 litres water for a person living in an urban area

* The average water consumption of a family, the average household size being five, is pegged at 750 litres in Delhi

* Latest national census suggests 82% of the city is connected by water pipelines

Rs 1-cr relief for slain cops family

The Delhi CM announced a compensation of ~1 crore, one of the highest by a state government, for the family of Delhi Police constable Vinod Kumar Sabita, allegedly beaten to death by the liquor mafia during a raid in Ghitorni area of South Delhi last Saturday. 

(With PTI inputs)

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