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50% power bill waiver for defaulters

Thursday, 13 February 2014 - 6:00am IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: DNA

In yet another populist measure, Arvind Kejriwal Government on Wednesday announced that consumers who did not pay their electricity bills as part of AAP's power agitation will have to shell out only half of their total dues, a decision which will cost Rs six crore to exchequer.

A decision to this effect was taken by a meeting of Delhi Cabinet presided by chief minister Kejriwal. The penalty on the outstanding has also been waived.

"Delhi government today decided to give a 50 per cent subsidy to those who did not pay their bills from October, 2012, to April, 2013, (the duration of the agitation) and continued not paying till December," senior Minister Manish Sisodia told reporters.

Officials said the decision will benefit around 24,000 consumers.

Meanwhile, chief minister Kejriwal on Wednesday wrote to prime minister Manmohan Singh requesting him to suspend the order that allows prices of natural gas from KG basin to be doubled from April 1 till the probe ordered by Delhi government in the matter is over.

Kejriwal's letter comes on the same day when Delhi's Anti-Corruption Branch registered an FIR in the case naming petroleum minister Veerappa M Moily, Reliance Industries Limited chief Mukesh Ambani, former union minister Murli Deora and retired director general of Hydrocarbons VK Sibal was filed.

Meanwhile, Delhi Assembly's session is all set to start from Thursday where two pet bills - Swaraj and Jan Lokpal bill - of the Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal are expected to be tabled. The suspense over whether Jan Lokpal will be debated in an open stadium by legislators continues as AAP is yet to get final for it.

Following Delhi LG Najeeb Jung asking Kejriwal to reconsider the February 3 decision of Delhi's cabinet to hold the session in an open stadium, Kejriwal led cabinet discussed it again in its meeting today. LG had referred to the reservations expressed by the Delhi Police in providing security for such a session.

Kejriwal's cabinet pondered over it again and reiterated its earlier decision to the LG since it was of the "unanimous opinion that such a crucial anti-corruption legislation needs to be taken to the people directly".

Delhi Cabinet stated that democracy must not be confined within four walls.

After their meeting, Delhi cabinet in a statement said, "elected representatives should debate in front of the public who elects them and this is a first step in that direction."

It requested the LG to apprise the Delhi Police of its view that Police has been providing protection for much larger sports, commercial and entertainment events and therefore they see no reason behind Delhi Police's reluctance in managing a single-day session which will last only for a few hours.

A Delhi government official said they want to hold special session in stadium only for a day on February 16 and on Thursday Delhi Assembly session will start in Delhi Legislative Assembly only.

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