Relief for Kejri's people who didn't pay power bills

The Delhi Cabinet on Wednesday approved a proposal to give 50 per cent relief on pending arrears of nearly 24,000 electricity consumers who stopped paying their allegedly inflated bills on a call given by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal during his agitation against power companies in 2012-13.  

The decision will impose a burden of Rs 6 crore on the exchequer. The opposition party slammed the decision and said there was no money with government for the concession given to consumers. 

The government has also decided to waive off the entire amount of late payment surcharge and penalty imposed on the consumers who did not pay the power bills, said senior Delhi Minister Manish Sisodia.

Kejriwal, while protesting against the previous Sheila Dikshit government and allegedly inflated power bills, had asked supporters of his Aam Aadmi Party to stop paying electricity bills if they suspected that their meters were ‘running fast’.

“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 Kejriwal’s agitation) and continued not paying till December 2013,” Sisodia told reporters.

The government has also decided to consider the closure of theft cases registered against some consumers during the previous government’s regime.A total of 2,508 electricity meters were disconnected by the authorities concerned for non-payment of allegedly inflated and wrong bills. 

After becoming the Chief Minister, Kejriwal also set up a system to allow consumers suspecting inflated electricity bills to get their power meters inspected by an independent agency. 

The BJP and the Congress called the part-waiver in power bills a big bluff and an attempt to mislead people as there is no budget provision for it. 

“At least Rs 6 crore burden will be put on taxpayers. This is a decision which is unfair to law-abiding citizens,” said Delhi BJP chief Vijay Goel, alleging only supporters of the AAP were being given the concession.

 “So many people had participated in Bijli Andolan which BJP ran for four years. Why only a select group of people have been chosen to give this waiver. If the CM wanted to give benefit to all those who fought against power companies then he should have included lakhs of other households also,” said Goel.

Delhi Congress chief Arvinder Singh Lovely said there was no money with the government to pay the Rs 6 crore subsidy for part-waiver of the power dues of 24,000 consumers.

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