Chief Minister focuses on water, power; audit of discoms next

DelhiDelhi CM Arvind Kejriwal speaks to supporters at his Kaushambi residence on Sunday. Ravi Kanojia

A day after he was sworn in as Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday conducted hectic meetings with senior officials, trying to come up with a roadmap to help him deliver on his manifesto promises at the earliest.

With the promises of 700 litres of free water to every family and a 50 per cent reduction in power tariff the most important on his agenda, meetings were held with officials of the Power department and the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) on Sunday.

While the financial implications of rolling back the power tariff by 50 per cent will take some time to be worked out, the file regarding the CAG audit of the private power distribution companies has already been moved. Sources said a Cabinet decision in this regard would be taken soon, once the matter has been discussed with the CAG.

Sources told Newsline that various options were being looked at to provide immediate relief to power consumers in terms of lowering the tariff, as promised by the CM. While it would take 3-4 months to enhance the efficiency of the department and as much time to audit the power distribution companies, the CM, who retains the power portfolio, is mulling a straight 50 per cent cut in the lowest consumption slab by increasing the subsidy.

Sources said there was a possibility of counting the lowest consumption slab as 0-400 units to provide subsidy, against the present norm of 0-200 units. At present, the government gives a subsidy of

Rs 1.20 on the 0-200 consumption slab, which costs Rs 3.90. To bring this tariff down by half, the government will have to increase the subsidy by 75 paise.

With the chief minister having received complaints of fast-running power meters, another issue on the Power department's agenda is meter testing. Power officials will now conduct random checking of meters to see if there is merit in the complaints, and then work on the issue.

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