Arvind Kejriwal in 'free water' row as housing societies cry foul

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"For group housing societies, there is no relief," a resident on Arvind Kejriwal's 'free water' scheme. PTI
Summary"For group housing societies, there is no relief," a resident on Arvind Kejriwal's 'free water' scheme.

THE Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) may have fulfilled its poll promises on free water and cheaper power, but scores of households which have not been extended the benefits, especially group housing societies, have accused the government of “step-motherly” treatment.

The government on Monday announced 20 kilolitres of free water every month to households with valid water connections and functional meters.

People living in areas under the New Delhi Municipal Council and the Delhi Cantonment Board are, however, not included in the free-water scheme as the water utility provides water in bulk in these areas. The hundreds of group housing societies in Delhi, which are also provided water in bulk, have also been excluded.

Residents of housing societies in Dwarka, Rohini and Mayur Vihar accused the new government of bias for keeping them out of the schemes. Residents of Vasundhara Enclave in East Delhi, which has 45 group housing societies and approximately 5,000 households, have demanded that the housing societies be treated as a cluster if the residents do not have individual meters.

“We have the same rights as any other household and we are all registered with the Delhi Jal Board (DJB). If this free-water scheme is meant for residents with functional meters, it is the duty of the government to find a way to treat us as a cluster and divide the benefit. Why should we be at the receiving end of such disparity,” Vishnu Datta, former president of the Anupam Apartments’ RWA, said.

Residents’ Federation of Rohini Cooperative Group Housing Societies also criticised the “step-motherly treatment meted out to their residents with respect to reduction in water and electricity charges for Delhi residents”.

“Free water benefit must reach all residents of Delhi... and no government has the right to create classifications or groups in view of the fact that every citizen is equal before the law. For group housing societies, there is no relief. It is common knowledge that the societies may have 100 to 700 flats, but they have a common water meter and the readings of all the flats are merged in a single meter,” S K Sharma, the president of the society, said.

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