Aam Admi Party convenor Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday persisted with his attack on Delhi government for the second successive day, accusing it of irregularities in Delhi Jal Board and effecting 18-fold hike in the water tariff in last nine years.
"Our water bill, which was Rs 74 nine years ago has swollen to Rs 1,375, which is an 18-fold growth. This is due to corruption in water distribution system under which a French firm run water treatment plant in Sonia Vihar is being paid for inflated quantity of treated water by the government," he said while launching the 51-day long agitation at Najafgarh.
Delhi Jal Board rejected the allegations terming them as totally unfounded.
Kejriwal had alleged that the firm gets 90 million gallon per day (MGD) water to purify but interestingly it shows an output of 140 MGD "which is impossible".
"But still it gets paid for this inflated quantity by the government. Similarly, government provides free electricity to a firm which runs Nangloi filtration plant. It then buys water from the firm at Rs 15 per kilolitre while the same work could be done by Delhi Jal Board at Rs 5 per kilolitre," he said.
The anti-corruption activist again asked the people not to pay their "inflated" electricity bill, and said "if you are afraid that you connection would be disconnected and police may take action for reconnecting it, then give a call to me I will come to reconnect the power connection."
Kejriwal, while outlining his course of action, said that he would be staging demonstrations at 51 places during his 51-day long agitation programme to make the people aware about the rise in electricity bills.
DJB, in a statement, said that the points raised by Kejriwal were inaccurate and misleading.
The Board said Sonia Vihar water treatment plant receives 270 cusecs (more than 140 MGD) raw water from UP. This can be independently confirmed by UP Jal Nigam and Tehri Hydro Power Project, where 300 cusecs storage capacity has been created for Delhi.
"This can be independently confirmed by UP Jal Nigam and Tehri Hydro Power Project, where 300 cusecs storage capacity has been created for Delhi. However, pending the signing of an MoU for Sonia Vihar on account payments are being made to UP for 90 MGD, based on the existing agreement for the Bhagirathi water treatment plant," it said.
The Board also refuted the charge of alleged payment to a contractor for the Nangloi project more than what it costs DJB to produce and supply water.
"The treatment of water costs Delhi Jal Board Rs 15.43 per kilo litre. This includes the cost of bulk water, power, treatment cost, distribution, interest on loan and depreciation thereof.
"The contract awarded for Nangloi, through an open and transparent bidding process, is at Rs 14.99 per kiloliter billed and collected. This includes all operation and maintenance costs (excluding power and raw water) and return on investment of 30 per cent of Rs 458.54 crores required to extend piped water supply to all households in the service area and maintain continuous supply with pressure to reach upto the third floor," the Board said.
"It also said that the operator has been incentivised to reduce commercial and physical losses and would be paid only for water billed and collected. The operator has also been incentivised to reduce power consumption. The Revenue collected will be the revenue of DJB; the company will only be paid on the basis of performance against stringent parameters," the DJB said.