Kejriwal could bite bullet on free water for Delhi today

After a busy Sunday during which he met several groups of people from Delhi, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal is expected to meet senior officials of the Delhi Jal Board on Monday. Having promised that the Aam Aadmi Party's campaign commitment to provide 700 litres of water free to every family in Delhi would be implemented immediately, all eyes are on whether Kejriwal will announce the decision following the meeting.

On Saturday, after his swearing in ceremony, Kejriwal had reiterated that he would announce his next move on the water issue on Monday.

The other major campaign promise of the Aam Aadmi Party, to reduce consumers' power expenditure by half, will be taken up on Tuesday, Kejriwal has said.

On Saturday itself, hours after assuming office, the chief minister, also chairman of the Delhi Jal Board, transferred out nine IAS officers including Delhi Jal Board chief executive officer Debashree Mukherjee. He met officials of the Delhi Jal Board on Saturday.

 Kejriwal could bite bullet on free water for Delhi today

Kejriwal after his public meeting on Sunday. PTI

Kejriwal was reportedly informed of various irregularities in contracts given out by the Delhi Jal Board. He was quoted as saying there was no tendering for the Nangloi project and that a private company was being offered raw water for free and being paid thre to four times the estimated cost of treating such water.

At the ‘urgent meeting’ of DJB, there could also be a decision on whether the automatic annual tariff hike of 10 percent from 1 January will kick in or not, according to a report in The Hindustan Times.

Another issue the new Delhi chief Minister will have to tackle immediately is that of the CNG price hike. If the hike is not rolled back, while the BJP has promised to stage protests across Delhi, autorickshaw fares will have to be hiked too, a move the AAP can ill afford immediately. While autorickshaw drivers are among the AAP's supporters, middle class Delhi may not be too pleased with an auto fare hike.

On Sunday, those who met Kejriwal at his Kaushambi residence included Kamal Farooqui of the Samajwadi Party, 500-odd drivers and conductors of the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) and municipal body workers.

The DTC workers came with applications seeking that their jobs be made permanent. Kejriwal requested a week or 10 days' time so that a system can be set up where representations given by people could be read and acted upon.

"Please give me a week to 10 days time to settle down. We have just assumed power. I will accept your applications when we have a system in place to resolve the problems," he said.

Safai karmcharis or sanitation workers, also seeking regularisation of their employment, as well as employees of power ultlity BSES and representatives of a teachers' association met him on Suinday too.

with inputs from IANS


Updated Date: Dec 30, 2013 09:51:30 IST