Delhi government to waive off pending water bills

New Delhi: Announcing a "gift" on completing a year in office, the Aam Aadmi Party government in Delhi on Sunday 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 percent write-off of late payment surcharge till November 30, 2015. The waiver will depend on category of the 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 percent depending on their economic category, he said.

Kejriwal said people residing in A and B category colonies will enjoy concession of 25 percent on their pending water bills, while residents of C and D category colonies will avail rebate of 50 and 75 percent, 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 told IANS that the concession was conditional upon the affected households going for 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 meters," Mishra said.

The Delhi Jal Board supplies potable water to over 19 lakh 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 account of our work in one year. As promised, we made electricity cheaper and provided 20,000 litres of water free of cost to 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.

"We allocated 25 percent 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 (Sunday) we will inaugurate 20 mohalla clinics at various locations in the city," he said.

Kejriwal said 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 successful implementation of the odd-even scheme, we took people together. This was our biggest achievement," Kejriwal added.

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