Tuesday, 30 July 2013

  •  Delhi BJP denounces DJB move to extract hefty water surcharge from lakhs of Delhiites.
  • Highly inflated bills up to 15 lakhs sent to around 5000 group housing societies to extract more than 250 crores(apx.) from people of Delhi
  • BJP will accord top priority to improve water services in Delhi and work to change the flawed DJB water pricing mechanism & lower the water tariff.
  • BJP would reconsider the whole issue of water surcharge and reduce and exempt surcharges to maximum possible extent. 
  • BJP demands a special audit by CAG into accounts of DJB. 
New Delhi, July 30. The Delhi BJP has denounced the Delhi Jal Board’s move to extract hefty amounts in garb of ‘surcharge’ from around 5000 group housing societies in Delhi as unjust & unfair. This move is bound to affect lakhs of families living in group housing societies.

Shri Sinha stated that highly inflated Bills ranging from Rs.3 lakhs to Rs. 15 lakhs as surcharge levied retrospectively from year 2004 have been sent to housing societies all over Delhi. This hefty surcharge is levied in addition to regular water bill which is raised by DJB. These bills have been raised without any basis or criteria. Even by conservative estimates the approximate figure sought to be collected by DJB from ordinary members of housing societies is Rs250 crores (apx.) without extending any additional service on this account.

Delhi Govt. has notified the last date of making the payment of surchage as 31st July 2013. Despite repeated requests of RWA to reconsider the issue, the Govt. of Delhi did not even extend the payment date. Recently, Confederation of group housing societies of East Delhi led by its President, Dr. Ramesh Verma met Shri Aman Sinha and requested him to raise this in interest of lakhs of residents of Delhi. The confederation representatives stated that when they met Chief Minister of Delhi, She told them point blank to pay the surcharge or else their water connection shall be disconnected.

Uptill now Societies were paying water charges on the basis of bulk meter. The DJB now wants ordinary members to pay surcharge on the basis of per dwelling units, although they have no individual water meter connection. The group housing societies are arranging water supply to individual flats and maintain all necessary infrastructure themselves by raising money from its members. Now the members are sought to be charged by DJB also on account of fixed charges/surcharge although they provide no such services. This is in addition to the regular Water bills being paid to DJB by entire housing society.

In the DJB’s Circular dated 29th January 2005, group housing societies were not included in the list of premises on which “fixed access charges” were to be levied. However in the DJB Board meeting held on 30-3-2005, chaired by Chief Minister, it was decided to issue another Circular which was notified on 7th April 2005 in which group housing societies were deliberately included as it is far easier to coerce societies and compel them to pay such charges howsoever unfair. The Delhi Govt. is perhaps under illusion that Societies residents do not come out in large numbers to cast their votes in elections and as such their vote-share does not count much.

The Section 51 of Delhi Cooperative Societies Act 2003 which grants exemption from certain taxes, fees and duties was blissfully ignored by Delhi Govt. When the matter came before the Hon’ble High Court the Delhi Government did not apprise the Court about the exemptions already being given to lakhs of societies all over the country under similar provisions.

To compound difficulties of residents, DJB has now raised the Bills starting from year 2004 whereas Circular to include societies was issued on 7th April 2005. It is a treacherous move to amass huge sums from gullible societies to unfairly enrich DJB and enable private parties who are expanding their base in the garb of “PPP” model to have their playfield without hassles.

Shri Aman Sinha stated, that the Delhi Jal Board under chairmanship of Chief Minister Sheila dikshit has made the water situation miserable in Delhi. The water tariff has been increased by 1000% in past 15 years of Congress rule in Delhi. The water tariff in Delhi is the highest in any metropolis in the Country. Water rates are about 8-9 times of prevailing tariff in Mumbai. Despite these huge rates, in a recent survey 80% of DJB water samples were found contaminated. The average per capita supply is 3.84 litres against the prescribed norm of 172 litres. These are ominous signs of coming events which may possibly result in Water fights in streets of Delhi.

Shri Aman Sinha said that the BJP when it comes to power in Delhi would accord top priority to improving the water services in Delhi. The BJP will review and reconsider this whole issue of levy of huge water surcharge on citizens of Delhi and substantially reduce and exempt surcharge wherever possible.

Shri Aman Sinha also added that BJP will review the flawed water tariff pricing mechanism of DJB and it would be endeavour of the BJP to lower the water tariff in interest of people of Delhi.

Shri Sinha stated that Govt. is wary of placing all material facts before the people and running away from a transparent healthy debate. Shri Sinha stated that BJP demands a special audit by CAG into the entire working of DJB with participation of experts in the field so as to un-earth the hidden privatisation plans of Delhi Govt. Government appears to have decided to convert DJB into a private fiefdom on the lines of electricity services in Delhi and is acting under their ill-conceived proposals to extract money from common citizen of Delhi.

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