The Bharatiya Janata Party reacted strongly to the sharp increase in water tariffs announced by the State Government on Tuesday and termed it an assault on the residents.

In a statement, Leader of Opposition in Delhi Assembly V. K. Malhotra said the hike in water charges after an increase in power tariffs, sewerage charges and bus and metro fares has left the people “shocked and confused’’.

“It is clear that the Delhi Government headed by Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit has taken the people of Delhi for granted after her third consecutive win in Delhi,” he charged.

Prof. Malhotra said it was because of the carelessness and inefficiency of the Government-controlled Delhi Jal Board that there was widespread theft and leakage of water. “Instead of stopping such malpractices, the Government is choosing to penalise the people of Delhi.”

He claimed that the Government was preparing the ground for privatisation of water supply and the price revision was merely a ploy to make the takeover more attractive for private companies.

BJP general secretary Vijay Goel said the water tariff hike had once again exposed the anti-people face of the Delhi Government. Seeking an immediate rollback of the hike, he said it would be much better if the Government made efforts to curb corruption in the Delhi Jal Board and worked towards making it an efficient department.

The BJP leader also attributed the shortage of water in Delhi to the failure of the Congress Governments at the Centre to work on the National River Integration Policy that was evolved during the previous BJP-led NDA regime.

Former Delhi MLA and BJP leader Vijay Jolly said the hike ranging between 57 and 151 per cent along with a 60 per cent increase in sewerage charges was not justified. “What is the justification for a hike now?’’ he asked.

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