Sheila Dikshit grills CM Arvind Kejriwal over power, water
Politics over electricity and drinking water intensified in Delhi as Congress's Delhi chief Sheila Dikshit called on Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday.
The meeting came a day after Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Delhi chief Manoj Tiwari shot off a letter to Arvind Kejriwal over the power crisis. BJP Rajya Sabha member Vijay Goel also held a protest until early morning on Wednesday at the Delhi Jal Board headquarters demanding answers from officials on the state of water supply as water demand peaked during the scorching summers.
While the BJP and Congress continue to attack AAP government on water and electricity, Arvind Kejriwal-led party claimed all was well in the Capital as its dispensation had been successfully providing power at a much cheaper rate than erstwhile Congress regime. Cheap electricity and free drinking water has been an important poll plank of AAP government ever since in won 2013 Assembly elections.
Meanwhile, the delegation, led by Sheila Dikshit accompanied by three working presidents of Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee, demanded a six-month waiver to power consumers in the city. The consumers, Dikshit alleged during the meeting, had been made to pay over Rs 7,401 crore as increased fixed charges, a charge that AAP rejected.
During the meeting, Delhi's power minister Satyendar Jain compared the prevailing net bill amount with that during the Dikshit government between 2010 and 2013, and said the tariff now was cheaper. AAP furnished numbers per units consumed and charged as per present government till 2013 and after 2015 till date in support of its argument. The ruling party claimed that if power tariffs charged during Dikshit regime had not changed, the power bills would have been higher by at least 72 per cent today.
The power minister said that it's a "big achievement" of AAP government to ensure roundthe-clock power supply at the "cheapest" rates. "Power outage is 10 times less than it was 10 years ago. There is no shortage of power," he said.
"We sought to know from the Congress delegation the basic calculation behind their complaints but they had nothing to offer," AAP spokesperson and MLA Saurabh Bhardwaj claiming that the delegation "accepted" that power supply situation was "better" now.
"Congress delegation was provided fact-sheet at CM house. Dikshit left embarrassed when she found that 2019 rates under AK are still half of what she charged. That too after 6 yrs," he later said in a tweet.
The Congress on its part said that Kejriwal had agreed to order a probe into the alleged irregularities in fixed charges collected to benefit the power distribution companies. "Sheila Dikshit brought to his notice that Rs 7401 crore were collected from the power consumers in Delhi in the name of fixed charges," Congress said.