L-G writes open letter to Kejriwal over Delhi’s water woes; Atishi decries ‘political’ missive

April 17, 2024 01:17 am | Updated 07:44 am IST - New Delhi:

Delhi L-G V.K. Saxena

Delhi L-G V.K. Saxena | Photo Credit: File Photo

Lieutenant-Governor V.K. Saxena wrote an open letter to jailed Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) national convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday over the murder of a woman over a water-related brawl in the city on April 12. Mr. Saxena termed the woman’s death a failure of the Delhi government and accused Water Minister Atishi of using the incident for “narrow political goals”.

In response, the Minister decried the L-G’s “political” letter and accused him of “maintaining a stoic silence” over the water-related woes of Delhi for the past several months. She also said that Mr. Saxena had encouraged officers who obstructed the Delhi government’s works and did not take any action against them despite repeated requests.

Ms. Atishi had written to the L-G on Sunday, asking him to suspend the DJB CEO following the incident, where a 15-year-old girl was apprehended for knifing a 35-year-old woman to death in Shahdara’s Farsh Bazar over a dispute about filling water from a common tap.

In his letter on Tuesday, the L-G said Delhi Ministers were busy doing politics even as the common man was suffering.

“I was deeply distressed at the insensitive communication from the Minister for Water Atishi on Sunday. While I was yet to receive the letter, it characteristically found its way on various social and mainstream media platforms, the moment it was signed. She has chosen to use the unfortunate death of a woman in east Delhi for narrow and partisan political goals,” Mr. Saxena said charged.

He said many such incidents related to water scarcity in the city have been reported over the past 10 years primarily due to the failure of the Delhi government.

He cited figures from the Economic Survey 2023-24, tabled in the recent budget session of the Delhi Assembly, and said, “Over the last decade, water treatment capacity grew marginally from 906 MGD to 946 MGD, barely a 4.4% increase. During the same period, the city’s population has grown significantly by 15%.”

Mr. Saxena said that of the about 2.5 crore people in the city, more than two crore are deprived of drinking water supply in varying degrees.

In her three-page response to the L-G’s “unfortunate missive”, the Water Minister said Mr. Kejriwal has tried to address all complaints regarding water contamination in the city.

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