'Delhi govt created chimera of free water': LG's open letter to Arvind Kejriwal

Delhi Lt Governor criticises Atishi for politicising water crisis. Faults government for poor water management, infrastructure, and misleading policies.
Delhi Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena and CM Arvind Kejriwal
Delhi Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena and CM Arvind KejriwalFile Photo

Delhi Lt Governor V K Saxena has written an open letter to jailed Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, claiming the death of a woman in a fight over fetching water reflects the government's failure and Water Minister Atishi used the incident for "narrow political goals".

Atishi hit back at Saxena over the open letter, holding him responsible for the stoppage of Delhi Jal Board (DJB) works.

Delhi Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena and CM Arvind Kejriwal
Suspend DJB CEO, Atishi tells L-G after woman stabbed to death in Delhi

The Delhi water minister had a few days ago written to the L-G, asking him to suspend the CEO of Delhi Jal Board (DJB) after a woman was killed following a quarrel with her neighbour over fetching water from a common tap in the Farsh Bazar area of northeast Delhi.

In the note, Atishi urged Saxena to "institute an independent enquiry into the acts of omission and commission of the chief secretary, as well as officers of the finance department, urban development department and DJB".

Days after the communication, Saxena penned a strongly worded open letter to Kejriwal, currently lodged in Tihar jail after his arrest by the Enforcement Directorate in a money laundering case linked to the now-scrapped Delhi excise policy scam case.

The Lieutenant Governor (L-G) criticised Delhi's Water Resources Minister, Atishi, accusing her of exploiting the death of the woman for "narrow and partisan political goals." In an open letter, the L-G pointed out that Atishi, by highlighting inadequate water supply as the cause behind the incident, implicated her own government of over nine years. He described Atishi's note as a prima facie admission of guilt, inaction, and inefficiency over the past nearly ten years.

The lieutenant governor slammed Atishi for attacking the chief secretary, Delhi Jal Board (DJB) chief executive officer, officers of finance and urban development department.

Delhi Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena and CM Arvind Kejriwal
BJP urges L-G to order probe into DJB projects in last 9 yrs

The Lieutenant Governor (L-G) criticised the ministers of Delhi for a pattern of blaming officers for their failures across various sectors including health, hospitals, sanitation, education, and water supply. He expressed disappointment that the Water Resources Minister, Atishi, did not exhibit the expected maturity and restraint befitting someone in a high office.

The Delhi Lieutenant Governor (L-G) referred to the economic survey presented by Atishi, which indicated that over the past 10 years, water treatment capacity had only marginally increased from 906 MGD to 946 MGD, representing a meager 4.4 percent growth.

He highlighted that during the same period, the city's population had significantly increased by 15 percent, resulting in an overall water supply shortfall of about 290 MGD. Additionally, he questioned the claim that 120 MGD of water was sourced from groundwater extraction, considering it an exaggeration.

The L-G also pointed out that out of the sixteen Ranney wells, five were non-functional, and a considerable number of tubewells were also dysfunctional.

In his open letter, the Lieutenant Governor (L-G) highlighted that the percentage of 'unaccounted water', which includes water lost due to transmission and distribution losses, water theft, and non-payment of dues, rose sharply from 45 percent in 2015 to 58 percent in 2022-2023.

The L-G also emphasized that out of the city's population of 2.5 crore people, more than two crore individuals are deprived of drinking water supply to varying degrees, particularly in unauthorised colonies and slum clusters, and to a lesser extent, even in organised developed colonies.

“Instead of fixing the iniquitous water supply, you and your ministers created a chimera of free water. Deception of people has been mastered into an art form by you and your ministers,” L-G Saxena wrote.

Related Stories

No stories found.

The New Indian Express