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Kejri: Govt determined to water bill scheme rollout

Flays BJP-controlled bureaucracy for obstructing initiatives

Kejri: Govt determined to water bill scheme rollout

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal addresses the media after the budget session on Monday. TRIBUNE PHOTO: MANAS RANJAN BHUI



Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 19

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday assured the people of the Capital troubled by incorrect water bills that “they should not worry, we are with you”. Kejriwal affirmed that the Delhi Government would ensure the implementation of the ‘One-Time Settlement Scheme’ of the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) at all costs. He criticised the BJP-controlled bureaucracy for obstructing various initiatives in the past but emphasised that his government did not back down.

Speaking during the budget session in the Assembly, Kejriwal warned of a massive agitation in Delhi if the BJP hindered the passage of the scheme. He highlighted that the scheme, if implemented, would result in the waiver of bills for 90 per cent of water consumers and generate significant revenue for the DJB through subsidies from the state government.

Kejriwal expressed concerns about officers being threatened to obstruct the scheme and urged the Lieutenant-Governor (L-G) to instruct them to pass it. He urged that if officers continued to resist, they should be suspended.

During the budget session, members presented a resolution paper to discuss the scheme with the permission of Speaker Ram Niwas Goel.

Kejriwal highlighted the plight of Delhi residents receiving incorrect water bills and emphasised the urgent need to rectify the situation. He expressed frustration that despite the passage of the ‘One-Time Settlement Scheme’ by the DJB in June 2023, the scheme is yet to be implemented due to bureaucratic hurdles.

Delhi Cabinet Minister Saurabh Bharadwaj underscored the challenges faced by approximately 27 lakh consumers of the DJB, with around 10 lakh domestic consumers refusing to pay their water bills due to perceived inaccuracies. He attributed this problem to irregular meter readings during the Covid-19 pandemic, leading to erroneous bill estimations and widespread bribery to rectify bills.

Kejriwal criticised the Finance Secretary’s refusal to provide comments on the scheme, delaying its implementation. He also condemned the resistance from senior IAS officers, who claimed they were threatened with dire consequences if they passed the scheme. The officers alleged threats of suspension, termination, imprisonment and investigation by enforcement agencies.

Kejriwal accused the BJP of obstructing the Delhi Government’s efforts, citing instances such as withholding hospital medicines, delaying payments for mohalla clinics, neglecting doctor salaries, terminating MTS employees and halting yoga classes.

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