Aam Aadmi Party keeps word, Arvind Kejriwal opens freebie floodgates: 667 litres daily

Written by Geeta Gupta | Geeta Gupta | New Delhi | Updated: Dec 31 2013, 14:44pm hrs
Moving swiftly to keep its poll promise of providing free water to every household in Delhi, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government Monday announced 20 kilolitres of free water every month it works out to 667 litres a day to households with valid water connections and functional meters installed by the Delhi Jal Board (DJB).

As reported by The Indian Express earlier, this means only 50 per cent of Delhis population the half that can afford to pay may benefit from the AAPs freebie.

The government also tempered the populist move by introducing a 10 per cent increase in tariff for those consuming more than 20 kilolitres who will be required to pay the full bill amount.

The decision was taken at the DJBs first meeting chaired by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal at his residence he was unwell and skipped office on Monday.

As per the 2011 Census, approximately 80 per cent households in Delhi receive piped water supply of the 33.41 lakh households, 27.16 lakh get piped water. The remaining 20 per cent are dependent on water tankers for daily needs. In all, there are only 17 lakh domestic metered connections in Delhi, which effectively account for just 51 per cent of the population.

It is duty of any responsible govt to provide lifeline water to its citizens. We may debate the quantum but can we argue against the principle

Kejriwal tweeted in the evening. He said the financial implication on DJB will be Rs 40 crore for the rest of the current fiscal and Rs 160 crore annually.

People living in areas under the New Delhi Municipal Council and Delhi Cantonment Board are not likely to be included in the free-water scheme.

Days before his swearing-in last week, Kejriwal announced that his government would fulfil the AAP promise of providing 700 litres of free water daily to every household wherever possible within 24 hours of assuming office.

Emerging from a meeting with Kejriwal on Monday, DJB CEO Vijay Kumar, who replaced Debashree Mukherjee hours after the new government took over, said: All domestic consumers with metered connections will get 20 kilolitres of water free of cost from January 1. We will not levy any existing charges such as water cess and sewerage charge.

In a statement, the DJB said: Consumers consuming more than 20 kilolitres monthly will be required to pay the full bill amount as per the water tariff, which has been increased by 10 per cent for consumers falling in this category.

An official said: Those who do not have metered connections will now be compelled to convert to metered connections to avail of this free 20 kilolitres. This will lead to water conservation in a big way as people will take responsibility at the individual level.

The DJB has also decided to extend the rebate on arrears scheme till March 31, 2014. The board will continue to extend benefit of the scheme for late payment surcharge waiver and 30 per cent rebate on arrears up to 31.03.2014, the DJB said.

Soon after the announcement, a statement issued by the AAP media cell said its government had fulfilled one of its most important promises of giving relief to domestic consumers of drinking water.

Aam Aadmi Party has always been in favour of optimum use and conservation of water. The party had promised in its manifesto that Jal Mitra families, spending only upto 700 litres of water per day, will get the water free of cost. Families spending over and above this limit will have to pay the full bill. And families spending more than 1,000 litre per day will be charged higher tariff.

Partys initiative was to stop wastage of water. The party had promised in the manifesto to apply this system of differential water tariff within 100 days of forming the government. But the promise has been fulfilled on the first working day after swearing-in of the government, the AAP stated.