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Posted at: Feb 15, 2016, 1:19 AM; last updated: Feb 15, 2016, 1:19 AM (IST)ON COMPLETION OF ONE YEAR IN OFFICE

Kejri govt waives water bills

The waiver till November last year will cost the exchequer Rs 923.27 crore
Kejri govt waives water bills
Arvind Kejriwal

Ananya Panda

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 14

With the AAP government celebrating its one year in office, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today offered people of the national Capital a fresh waiver on pending water bills till last November-a master stroke to pitch for the 2017 municipal elections-while slamming his political opponents for disapproving his government's measures on subsidies. 

Presenting the AAP's report card of the year which the party describes as "bemisaal", the Chief Minister said, "Providing 20,000 litres free water, according to the critics, will head the Delhi Jal Board to bankruptcy. But the revenue collection rose by Rs 176 crore as compared to last financial year. Kejriwal was addressing a gathering at NDMC Convention Centre where he along with his Cabinet colleagues later took questions via phone and Twitter. 

"A year ago the people of Delhi had given us 67 out of 70 seats and formed Aam Aadmi Party's government. The servant is in front of the people to give account of the whole year. Analysing the electricity and water bills, we found they are in complete disorder with bills largely prepared taking an average without reading meters. It is very difficult to recover these bills with arrears. So the government decided that till November this year pending bills will be waived. Only those who have functional meter will get the benefit," said the CM while asserting that the water freebie will check on fake bills. The waiver will cost the government exchequer Rs 923.27 crore.

Kejriwal said that by the end of December 2017, every household, barring those in 45-50 colonies on government land, will be connected to a piped water network and on this the government has chalked out a plan. 

"We had promised to cut power tariffs by 50 per cent and today power rates are the third lowest in the country. We had to give Rs 1,400 crore as subsidy. We returned the money you paid as tax that the governments used to siphon off earlier," said Kejriwal while also referring to the High Court stay on CAG audit of power discoms and that his government would challenge it in the Supreme Court. 

While he termed the odd-even initiative as his government's "biggest success, saying, "We took along people with an open mind and the unpopular experiment that resulted in criticism of governments elsewhere in the world became popular in Delhi." 

On education, the Chief Minister pointed out that in the last 20-25 years, government education system has been systematically ruined due to vested interests. The AAP government has conducted a mapping of its schools, he said. 

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