A day after launching the ‘Bijli Paani Satyagraha,’ a civil disobedience movement to demand that the Delhi government withdraw power and water tariffs, anti-corruption campaigner Arvind Kejriwal and his associates staged protests across the capital on Sunday, burning electricity bills.
Protests took place at more than 100 places in 114 municipal wards across 62 constituencies, a spokesperson of India Against Corruption said. While Mr. Kejriwal joined the protest at Bawana, Manish Sisodia, Gopal Rai and Kumar Vishwas participated in the agitation at Mahipalpur, Laxmi Nagar and Mukherjee Nagar.
Earlier in the day, Mr. Kejriwal visited the house of Kailash Chand, 65, who died of heart attack after officials of a private power distribution company raided his house at Najafgarh on Friday. But officials said the company was undertaking mass-inspection in the area to detect power theft, and a police team had accompanied the team.
The officials insisted that the meter was found bypassed, and a theft of around 5 kW was detected on the premises. Because of this, the billed amount was extremely low, whereas the connected load was comparable to that of an average household.
Sources said the electricity on the premises was disconnected as per the Delhi Electricity Regularity Commission’s guidelines. They had photographs and video-recording to prove that the meter was bypassed.
On Saturday, with Mr. Kejriwal having restored the electricity connection to the house of Banaram, a daily wager at Tigri Colony, Delhi Power Minister Haroon Yusuf commented that the IAC leader’s conduct was illegal. The power distribution company, he said, was told to lodge a complaint against Mr. Kejriwal with the Delhi Police.
Officials said Banaram had a common meter for his two-storey house, where four separate families of around 20 members resided. Many of them were earning members. The bill was high because it was for the summer months and it factored in the revised tariff, the sources said.
The sources said the resident’s latest bi-monthly bill was on the lines of his previous ones with an average consumption of 850 units a month. The recorded maximum demand indicator as per the meter was 4.46 against the sanctioned load of 1 kW, which indicated a high consumption, i.e., 850 units a month. While Banaram had paid his bill regularly, this was the first time he was defaulting.