New Delhi: A fresh tussle between the AAP-led Delhi government and Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena broke out today over power subsidies to consumers in the national capital. While Power Minister Atishi, earlier in the day, announced that subsidies will be stopped from Friday, as the Lieutenant Governor is yet to clear the file to extend it, his office said the file was signed yesterday itself.
“The subsidy we give to 46 lakh people will stop from today. From Monday onwards, people will get inflated bills without subsidy,” Delhi Power Minister Atishi said in a press conference, blaming the LG for sitting on the crucial file even though the AAP government approved the budget to continue the subsidy in the coming year.
Calling the allegations baseless, Mr Saxena's office advised Atishi to "refrain from unnecessary politicking. The LG asked why the decision was kept pending till April 4 went the deadline was April 15, and why the file was sent to him only on April 11.
“Power Minister is advised to refrain from unnecessary politicking and baseless, false allegations against LG. She should stop misleading people with false statements… What’s the need for a drama on 13th April by writing a letter and the press conference today?” a statement from the Lieutenant Governor’s office read.
Atishi claimed that she had sought a five-minute appointment with Mr Saxena to discuss the power subsidy, but hasn’t received a response in more than 24 hours now.
“The budget for this subsidy has been passed by the Vidhan Sabha. The government has money for subsidy but we cannot spend it,” she said.
The AAP government in Delhi provides free electricity to consumers with 200 units of monthly consumption. Those consuming 201 to 400 units get a 50 per cent subsidy, capped at ₹ 850.
Last year, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced power subsidies would be provided to only those consumers who apply for it. According to official figures, over 48 lakh among more than 58 lakh domestic consumers have applied for power subsidies.
The AAP has government allocated ₹ 3,250 crore for power subsidy in its budget for 2023-24.