Rewarding those who had supported the Aam Aadmi Party’s ‘bijli-paani andolan’ and refused to pay their electricity bills, the AAP government on Wednesday announced a 50 per cent subsidy on their pending bills and waiver of penalty.
“The cabinet has given approval to the power department’s proposal to give a 50 per cent subsidy to those who did not pay their bills from October 2012 to May 2013 (the duration of the agitation) and continued not paying till December. Moreover, any penalty on bills would also be waived off,” said Education and Urban Development Minister Manish Sisodia.
Justifying the decision, Sisodia said, “Those people who went against the heavy bills should get the advantage.”
Although around 10 lakh people had signed the AAP’s petition against power distribution companies during the agitation, only 24,000-odd consumers actually stopped paying their bills. The decision is expected to cost the Delhi government around Rs 6 crore.
According to the government, a total of 2,508 electricity meters were disconnected for non-payment of bills during this period. “The government has decided to provide relief to those people also so that they do not suffer for the wrong decisions of the previous government,” said a statement.
Last month, Chief Minister Arvind Kejirwal had announced exemption for those who had defaulted on their electricity bills, saying the Delhi government would pay the amount due from them. But he withdrew his statement after facing criticism, saying a review was needed.
Keeping a pre-poll promise, the AAP government had earlier approved a 50 per cent subsidy on electricity consumption of up to 400 units in Delhi — a decision which is estimated to cost the government over Rs 250 crore.