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Arvind Kejriwal's promises of free water, cheaper power impractical?

Dec 27, 2013 07:44 AM IST Politics Politics

New Delhi: A day before Arvind Kejriwal takes oath as the Delhi Chief Minister, experts are debating if the Aam Aadmi Party's promises of 700 litre of free water and a 50 per cent slash in electricity tariff is really a possibility or not.

Cheaper water and electricity bills for Delhi residents is a poll promise that the Aam Admi Party is getting ready to deliver on, but the question remains as to how feasible it will be.

On Christmas day, Chief Minister designate Arvind Kejriwal vowed to implement within 24 hours, 700 litres of free water to every household. But as water consultant Sanjay Sharma, who advised the AAP says, it is only a financial promise.

"Free water up to 700 litre is totally a financial commitment. Providing 700 litres every day is a tough job. It will lead to inequitable distribution of water, it will take time to arrange equitable water supply. It will take time," Sharma said.

But experts argue that promised 700 litres is a gross overestimation of demand, which experts say is not more than 350 litre per day per household.

That's not all. The AAP also promised to cut electricity rates by half. Umesh Sehgal, former chief secretary of Delhi, is doubtful though, that the planned audits of all three power companies will allow for such a drastic cut and show variability enough to bring down tariff by 50 per cent. And even if the government is able to half the rate, that would mean an increase in consumption.

"The consumption of power will go up and if that happens, where will power come from? Delhi doesn't produce its own power. Larger comes from outside and we have a quota fixed by the central government. Not by every state. We'll be in the same situation as Noida and Gurgaon and have huge power cuts," Sehgal said.

Water and electricity were two of the most important poll agendas for the Aam Aadmi Party and even though experts are doubtful about the practicality of the promises they have made, Arvind Kejriwal is confident that AAP will be able to implement these changes. How well and how soon will be a test that will measure the gap between promise and performance.