Announcing a “gift” on completing a year in office, the Aam Aadmi Party government in Delhi yesterday said water bills of households pending till November 2015 will be waived off partly or fully.
Addressing a gathering to mark the first anniversary of the AAP government, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said numerous families that received inflated water bills at some point had stopped paying the bills.
The scheme is a slab-wise waiver on accumulated arrears and 100% write-off of late payment surcharge till November 30, 2015. The waiver will depend on the category of the housing colony, based on property tax.
While the economically weaker sections will get full waiver up to November 30, others will enjoy concessions of 25-75% depending on their economic category, the chief minister said.
Kejriwal said people residing in A and B category colonies will enjoy concession of 25% on their pending water bills, while residents of C and D category colonies will get rebates of 50 and 75%, respectively.
Pending water bills of people living in E, F, G and H category colonies - which also include unauthorised colonies and slum clusters - will be fully waived off, he said.
Water Minister Kapil Mishra said the concession was conditional on the affected households installing functional water meters.
“There have been cases where people got inflated bills. To avoid paying such bills, they stopped paying every bill, posing a huge problem for our accounts department,” he said.
“It was posing an unnecessary burden on us, and we knew this amount wasn’t recoverable.”
“This waiver will help all of us start anew. And households will resume paying bills and will also go for functional metres,” Mishra said.
The Delhi Jal Board supplies potable water to over 1.9mn households in the capital.
Kejriwal also presented the ‘report card’ of the AAP government on completion of its one year in office by holding a public interaction session along with his ministers where he and his cabinet answered phone calls from people.
On one year of his government, Kejriwal said: “Today, I am here to give an account of our work in one year. As promised, we made electricity cheaper and provided 20,000 litres of water free of cost to the Delhi people.”
Kejriwal said his government was working towards making piped water available to almost all the households in the city.
“By March-end, piped water will reach 268 colonies. And by December 2017, almost every household in Delhi will get drinking water through pipelines.”
The chief minister said every department in the government performed with full dedication towards completing the promises.
Giving details of projects completed, the chief minister said his government saved Rs3bn of public money with the timely completion of three flyovers.
In its maiden budget in 2015, the AAP government doubled the allocation for education and raised the health budget by 45%. He said government schools will soon be at par with private institutions. “We have done away with the management quota. The business should be taken out of education sector.”
“We allocated 25% of the total budget to the education sector. We will construct 8,000 new classrooms till July this year. We are committed towards providing quality education at our government schools,” he said.
“We will open 1,000 mohalla clinics in the city by December and by next year, we will be able to start 150 polyclinics. Today we will inaugurate 20 mohalla clinics at various locations in the city,” he said.
Kejriwal said the implementation of the odd-even traffic scheme was one of the bold decisions his government took.
The odd-even scheme was a unique experiment that allowed petrol and diesel cars with odd and even registration numbers on roads on alternate dates in a bid to reduce pollution.
“For the successful implementation of the odd-even scheme, we took people together. This was our biggest achievement,” Kejriwal added.
Earlier, expressing his delight on completing one year in office, Kejriwal said the bonding between the AAP and Delhi was “deep and everlasting”.
“Last year, on this day, Delhi fell in love with AAP. This bonding is deep n everlasting,” he tweeted.
On February 14, 2015, Kejriwal took oath as Delhi chief minister and exactly a year before that on February 14, 2014 he resigned as chief minister after 49 days in office.
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