NEW DELHI: With commercial activities shut for nearly one and a half months and income going down due to the coronavirus lockdown, villages in the national capital have appealed to the Delhi government for relief from paying electricity bills. Some village associations in letters to authorities, including Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, have sought withdrawal of power bills of commercial establishments and announcement of additional subsidy for residential units in and around villages.
“Since lockdown, all commercial establishments are shut. Also, income from residential units has depleted as the government has asked owners to refrain from seeking rent from tenants,” said Anil Gianchandani, the secretary of Delhi Gramin Samaj. The Shahpur Jat Society in a letter to Kejriwal said even though almost all commercial units in Delhi are shut, the electricity companies are sending provision bills to residents of Shahpur Jat, Munirka, Ber Sarai, Kishangarh and others.
“How can the electricity companies be allowed to issue bills when there has not been any consumption of electricity for more than a month? It is a fact that these units have not been able to carry out any business and therefore they should not be compelled to pay any electricity charge for the lockdown period,” read the letter. “By this letter we seek complete withdrawal of electricity bills of commercial units for the lockdown period,” said the society.
Rent primary income
Most village inhabitants had agriculture as their primary source of livelihood, however, after mass land acquisition in the 70s, majority of them became dependent on rent, which was adversely affected during the lockdown period.