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2-min read

Rising Power Charges, Water Supply: Kejriwal Grapples with Issues at 'Nukkad' Meetings in Delhi

Since the Lok Sabha election debacle last month, Kejriwal and his MLAs have stepped up public meetings to enhance people-to-people contact, solicit feedback on the government’s performance and opinion on the proposed free metro and bus rises for women.

Rupashree Nanda | CNN-News18

Updated:June 9, 2019, 12:46 PM IST
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New Delhi: Aap Aadmi Party convenor Arvind Keriwal on Saturday addressed his 22nd ‘nukkad’ meeting in New Delhi constituency from where he had defeated three-time sitting chief minister Sheila Dikshit of the Congress.

In the meeting, residents raised issues related to old-age pensions, maintenance of parks, repair of boundaries and inflated electricity rates.

Since the Lok Sabha election debacle last month, Kejriwal and his MLAs have stepped up public meetings to enhance people-to-people contact, solicit feedback on the government’s performance and opinion on the proposed free metro and bus rises for women.

While some people appreciate the work done by the government, there have been a lot of complaints on the AAP’s main poll planks, especially electricity and water. Heightened electricity rates, power cuts and unavailability of water… how do you address that?

There are two to three issues. Electricity is available for 24 hours. Only in some areas due to local faults and faulty cables is it unavailable. We have made a list of all the areas where transformers and cables have to be changed and even there people will get electricity supply for 24 hours.

The other issue is the supply of electricity. Electricity rates are cheap, but last time the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) had raised fixed charges for reasons we could not know. Now it has gone up by five times. So we are talking with DERC and hope that in the next month, fixed charges would also be reduced.

About water management and availability, both have improved -- 525 colonies now have laid pipelines and houses are getting water in their taps. We have reduced the backlog of so many years.

Could it have been faster?

It is being made faster. We are trying. In the past so many years, these many pipelines had not been laid as they are now. Now, people are getting water through their taps. We also have to increase the availability of water even as we increase supply.

On free metro rides for women, the response here was lukewarm. Do you feel that if you do not come good on your promise, there could be a backlash?

No, it is not like that. There were many who raised their hands but a few who would shout. That is because this is a sophisticated area, many hands were raised in support, and a few against.

Second is the question whether this will be functional or not. Why should it not be? Why this question.

The ministry of urban development is part of the committee. There could be some issues... they may say they need more time.

But we are giving them money...

Harsh Vardhan has written to you with three proposals - portability of Ayushman Bharat, you can link it to the existing scheme, and increase the number of beneficiaries. How would you respond?

I have received the letter. I am examining it and will see what can be done.

In your last campaign, you always said ‘yeh chunav PM banane ka chunav nahi hai' (this is not the election to elect the PM), so did you sense an endorsement of Modi and that the election was going in his favour?

Now the election is over. People have cast their vote in one way. We respect the verdict. Now we have to prepare for the next election.

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