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Splash Delhi: For the first time, anywhere in Urban India, people to get free water

Tuesday, 31 December 2013 - 6:44am IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: DNA

AAP has kept its free water promise to the people of Delhi. On Monday, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal — grounded by high fever and severe “loose motions” — announced that every Delhi household with working water meters will get approximately 666 litres of free water per day.

The free water starts flowing from January 1, 2014. There were reports that this arrangement will remain in force for three months and then it will be reviewed. But Kejriwal tweeted that the “decision was for good”.

The Delhi Jal Board will pay for the free water. The only caveat for the aam aadmi is: You cross that Devil’s number of 666 and you pay.

As for the other big promise, that of cutting power tariff by half, Kejriwal said a decision will be taken today or tomorrow. Doctors have advised the chief minister not to venture out of the house for at least a week

On Monday, Kejriwal’s ministers were also doing their bit for the the aam aadmi. Education minister Manish Sisodia announced a helpline for nursery admissions. The government also decided to issue permits for another 5500 autorickshaws, These will ply within NCR districts like Ghaziabad, Noida and Gurgaon. Remember autowallahs had been the mainstay of the AAP blitzkrieg during the run-up to the Delhi elections.

Another big decision the Delhi government announced was an “unprecedented” Rs1 crore compensation to the family of a police constable who was killed by the liquor mafia last Saturday.

Constable Vinod Kumar and two other police personnel were thrashed by the liquor mafia during a raid. Vinod died in hospital while the others are being treated at AIIMS.

But the big-ticket announcement of the day was the free water decision. For a time it looked like it wouldn’t happen. Then Kejriwal tweeted ‘God bahut galat time par bimar kiya’ and the responses ranged from medical advice to warnings like that he not act like the child who wanted to bunk school. The message was: Deliver what you promised. So Kejriwal delivered, and fast.

So, despite the high fever, and loose motions, the chief minister chaired the 114th meeting of the Delhi Jal Board as its chairperson at his residence and took the call. As per the decision, domestic consumers with working meters will get 20 kilolitres of free water per month, which on average works out to a little more than 666 litres per household per day. Those who cross this limit will have to pay for the extra litres as per the water tariff which has been increased by 10% for consumers falling in this category. Kejriwal said the cost for the free water to the Delhi government would be around Rs160 crore per annum and that only Rs40 crore will be incurred during whatever days remain of the current fiscal. “It is the duty of any responsible government to provide ‘lifeline water’ to its citizens. We may debate the quantum but can we argue against the principle?”

“All domestic consumers with meter connections will get 20 kilolitres of water free of cost from January 1. We will not levy any existing charges such as water cess and sewerage charge,” said newly-appointed DJB CEO Vijay Kumar.

Meanwhile, Delhi education minister Manish Sisodia on Monday said provisions exist to strip civic bodies of their powers, hinting the new AAP government could do so if the BJP-ruled municipal corporations did not grant “No Objection Certificate” for opening new schools.

“There are provisions for stripping the powers of MCD (if they don’t clear map layouts (for construction of new schools),” Sisodia said.

With inputs from agencies.

London 800 litres — the daily household consumption of water of a family of five

New York 1,320 litres — the amount  of water consumed daily by a family of five

Delhi 688 litres — the average consumption of water per household per day in the capital city of India

Mumbai 675 litres — the water supplied daily by the BMC to a family of five living in flats.

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