Where Arvind Kejriwal restored power, they now pay lower bills

Bana RamBana Ram’s house in Tigri Colony, Delhi. (Renuka Puri)

More than a year before becoming Delhi's chief minister-designate, Arvind Kejriwal had launched his "civil disobedience" movement from a house in Tigri Colony in South Delhi.

The house, which belonged to Bana Ram, was at the epicentre of the "Bijli Paani Satyagrah" in October 2012 as Kejriwal "restored" the power connection of the family that had been disconnected as it could not pay the "inflated" bill of Rs 15,000.

Ram's extended family of 25 people — consisting of three brothers and their families — lived on three floors but had one power meter between them. Now they have three separate meters and said each gets a bill of not more than Rs 1,500.

"We always used to get bills of up to Rs 15,000, and we managed to pay on time. We had a common meter for all the three floors. Last year, our power was disconnected because we needed time to pay the bill. We paid the bill anyway," Ram's wife Champa said.

Baby, Ram's daughter, said the only problem they had with the disconnection was that they were not given a notice.

"We had no idea then who Arvind Kejriwal was. A lot of people used to distribute pamphlets with phone numbers, and they mentioned that this man would help us ordinary people, and that we should not be paying the hefty power bills. We just made a call to that number. Two men associated with Kejriwal came to our house the next day and told us that Kejriwal himself would come the next day to restore our power," she said.

And that next day, October 13, 2012, television crew reached the humble Bana Ram household — whose men work as masons — at least an hour before Kejriwal. "He came, he took a stool, climbed up and restored our power connection," said Dolly, the daughter-in-law.

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