The AAP government in Delhi on Thursday hiked the water tariff by 10 per cent about a month after it announced a free-water scheme for people in the national capital.
Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisoida, who chaired the 121st Board Meeting of Delhi Jal Board, gave his nod to the proposal for the tariff hike with immediate effect even as BJP and Congress slammed the government’s decision, saying it was a “betrayal of the people”.
According to a senior government official, the increase in tariff will be effective for households which consume more than 20,000 litres of water per month. However, people consuming under 20,000 litres will not be affected by the hike.
It was also decided to regularise all unauthorised water connections by taking a fee of Rs 3,310, which was earlier Rs 20,000, with the step aimed at encouraging consumers to go for authorised connections. “This will help DJB enforce better water accounting as well as reduce non-revenue water,” said a senior government official.
Sources also said that the government will purchase 250 water tankers so that people living in areas lacking water pipelines may get water through tankers.
The government also announced approval of 100 per cent rebate in the Late Payment Surcharge amount for domestic water consumers, who need to clear their water bills by March 31.
On February 25, AAP government had announced a 50 per cent subsidy on monthly power consumption of up to 400 units and 20,000 litres of free water per month to all households.
Slamming the Arvind Kejriwal-led government and condemning the hike decision, Delhi BJP chief Satish Upadhyay said that the ruling party is playing with the “sentiments of the people”.
“The government’s decision to increase water tariff by 10 per cent is a stab on peoples’ back. No proposal has come for laying new water supply lines in any area but the Jal Board has come up with a proposal to buy 250 new tankers,” he said.
Congress also came down heavily on the AAP government with DPCC chief Ajay Maken saying that, “Government’s decision to hike the water tariff is a betrayal of the people. The move will put additional burden on the common man.
“AAP is going back on all its promises, as the 10 per cent hike in the water tariff will affect lakhs of people in Delhi and would be beyond the paying capacity of the poor people.”
At the Jal Board meeting, it was also decided to award the work costing Rs 17.36 crore for rehabilitation and automation of the Ranney wells and tube wells, which will be operated by DJB in the Palla region. The project is aimed at augmenting DJB water resources by 15 MGD.
“The government also gave a nod to the purchase of 15,000 metric tonnes of Poly Aluminium Chloride (PAC) for the year 2015-2016 at an estimated cost of Rs 17.28 crore. PAC is used as a coagulant in the treatment of raw water at various water treatment plants,” a government official said.
To bridge the demand and supply gap in the city, DJB will be looking for alternative sources of raw water.
“In pursuance of the objective of generating additional water sources, DJB has decided to construct a 40 MGD waste water treatment plant and pumping station at the coronation pillar. The plant will use tertiary treated effluents to supplement the raw water in the river Yamuna at Palla,” the official added.
DJB was also apprised of the Sewerage Master Plan-2031, which will provide sewerage facilities in all the unsewered areas of Delhi in a phased manner.