Delhi Congress Pradesh Committee president Ajay Maken on Wednesday launched an attack against Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Government and called its claims about benefits from free water scheme ‘false propaganda’. The Delhi government had claimed that over 87% of Delhi’s population has benefited from the free water scheme after which Congress claimed that it was a false propaganda and a charge disapproved by the Delhi Jal Board (DJB). According to media reports, Congress stated that the free scheme of the AAP benefited not more than 8% households. While talking to the media, Maken while quoting from what he called the outcome budget of the DJB said that only 4.28 lakh households, which accounts for less than 8% of the total number of households in Delhi (nearly 46 lakh) benefitted from the policy.
Maken said that according to the outcome budget of the Delhi Jal Board, just 8% of the households of Delhi are benefiting from the scheme. He added that the government is misleading the people by claiming that 87% people get free water. He then went on to say that the AAP had gone back on its poll promise. Maken has also asked chief minister Arvind Kejriwal to apologise to the people of Delhi.
DJB vice chairman Dinesh Mohaniya said the agency had to go for the hike due to financial constraints in the wake of implementation of the 7th pay commission recommendations and the imposition of 18 per cent GST on new pipes. He said that the scheme benefits lakhs of people living across Delhi’s unauthorised colonies and JJ clusters, which cover majority of the population. Mohaniya added that he was yet to look at the claim and will need to discuss it with the member, finance. Going against what the Congress Party was saying, Mohaniya said, “I am sure it can’t be just 8%.”
The Delhi Jal Board on Tuesday hiked water tariff by 20% for residents using more than 20,000 litres a month. The hike will come into effect from February 1 next year. The decision, taken at a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal who holds the water portfolio, was criticised by the opposition BJP and the Congress with its leaders attacking the AAP chief by invoking his vocal opposition to the recent metro fare hike.