Delhiites who have benefitted from the Aam Aadmi Party government’s free-water scheme may continue to get the subsidy if the State Government responds to the Delhi Jal Board’s plea for funds before the first billing cycle in April.
At a meeting of the Board on Tuesday, members brought up the issue of continuing the subsidy past the end of this financial year. The scheme is expected to cost the DJB over Rs.41 crore for three months.
“Funding from the Delhi Government is vital for the continuation of the scheme. The Board has written to the government to ask for the money,” said Board member Mira Aggarwal, who is the Leader of the House in the North Delhi Municipal Corporation.
Ms. Aggarwal added: “If the funds from the Delhi Government are received before the first bills are made in April, the scheme could be continued. Otherwise, it will have to end as the DJB doesn’t have the money for it.”
At Tuesday’s meeting, the Board passed its interim budget for 2014-2015, which amounts to Rs.3,928.40 crore. The Board also discussed the financial burden on it due to the former government’s water subsidy. The Arvind Kejriwal Government had started a scheme giving each household in the Capital 700 litres of free water per day.
In a statement on Tuesday, the Board said: “The final confirmation for provision of subsidy has not been received from the Delhi Government as yet. Therefore, the Board is seeking confirmation from the government on the same.”
However, with no elected government in the Capital and the imposition of the model code of conduct soon, DJB member Sandeep Tanwar said he was not optimistic about getting the funds on time. “The subsidy has caused a loss of Rs.41 crore to the DJB. Where is that money coming from? It’s not in the budget as the AAP Government never took it through the legal channel.”