Order officials to clear scheme for unpaid water bills: Delhi assembly to LG | Latest News Delhi - Hindustan Times

Order officials to clear scheme for unpaid water bills: Delhi assembly to LG

Feb 19, 2024 05:17 PM IST

According to DJB officials, around 40% (1.6 million) of their 2.7 million consumers have received inflated water bills for the past several months

The Delhi assembly on Monday passed a resolution, urging Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena to issue necessary directions to officers concerned for the implementation of the Delhi Jal Board’s one-time settlement scheme for unpaid water bills of over 1 million consumers in the national capital.

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal. (Raj K Raj/ HT Photo)
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal. (Raj K Raj/ HT Photo)

Speaking in the assembly, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said officers were obstructing the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government’s plans to bring in the one-time settlement scheme, adversely impacting over 1 million people in the city-state. He also warned that AAP will launch a major agitation in the city if the scheme is not implemented quickly.

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Officers working in the Delhi government are controlled by the BJP-led central government by virtue of the city being a Union Territory.

The Delhi CM made the remarks while speaking on a resolution moved by AAP MLA Rajendra Pal Gautam in the assembly, who claimed that the principal secretaries of urban development and finance refused to implement the scheme despite written orders from ministers.

“The officers have not implemented the scheme even though eight months have passed. The finance secretary has to write his comments (on the scheme) before it can be brought before the cabinet. The finance secretary has written in the file that he will not give any comments. Urban development minister Saurabh Bharadwaj gave written directions to the secretary of the urban development department to bring the scheme before the cabinet. The urban development secretary said he would not put up the scheme before the cabinet unless the finance secretary gave his comments. The finance secretary is saying that he will not give any comments. The ministers called many officers and asked why they were doing so. A few senior IAS officers said that their jobs were at stake and that they were getting threats of suspension from the higher-ups if they pass the scheme, and may even face jail,” Kejriwal alleged.

“In a way, a serious constitutional crisis has emerged in Delhi because officers are giving in writing that they will not work. How can the government function like this? Does it suit the Centre to obstruct the work of the people? BJP is behind it all,” the CM claimed.

This story will be updated when the officers respond to the claims. Response from office of the Lieutenant Governor is also awaited.

According to DJB officials, around 40% (1.6 million) of their 2.7 million consumers have received inflated water bills for the past several months, and a majority of them have stopped paying bills. The Delhi government has also received numerous complaints in this regard.

The scheme is said to allow residents clear their dues after paying a considerably reduced amount that will be recast on their usage pattern.

The Delhi government expects the one-time settlement scheme to bring in a revenue of around 2,500 crore, officials added.

“Water consumers in Delhi have got inflated bills and the AAP government wants to provide relief to the people. Had Delhi been a full state, the officers could not have dared to ignore the directions of ministers. Around 40% consumers of Delhi are not paying their bills because they believe the bills are inflated... It is then the responsibility of the government to fix it. Consumers are in distress, and we have come up with the scheme to provide them relief,” Kejriwal said, adding that the AAP government is also ready to make changes to the scheme as per the BJP’s advice.

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    Alok K N Mishra is a journalist with the Hindustan Times, New Delhi. He writes on governance, policy and politics. He is an ardent follower of politics and is fascinated about making politics work better for the middle-class and the poor. He loves to discuss and predict the national political behaviour. Before shifting to Delhi, he covered political instability, governance, and misgovernance besides Maoists insurgency in Jharkhand for almost half a decade. He started out in 2010 as a city reporter with Times of India, Patna.

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