New Delhi, Amid the nationwide lokdown, villages in the national capital have appealed to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for relief from paying electricity bills as they are devoid of any income.
Shahpur Jat village association, in its letter to Kejriwal dated April 30, demanded withdrawal of power bills of commercial establishments and announcement of additional subsidy for residential units in and around villages.
The village society 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, Mehrauli and others.
“How can the electricity companies be allowed to issue bills when there is no 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,” the letter to the Chief Minister said.
“In view of the prevalent circumstances, we demand that for the residential units located in village areas (both urban and rural) of Delhi, the government should provide 50 per cent rebate on electricity bills during the lockdown period, over and above the current rebates/subsidy,” it said.
Shahpur Jat Society has also demanded the power discoms to not issue bills during the lockdown period.
Speaking to IANS, Shahpur village RWA association executive member Aman Panwar said, “On the one hand the government is asking us to not seek rent and on the other we are receiving power bills for commercial and residential units through SMS.”
He said that about 95 per cent of the people in the village are dependent on the rents from their commercial units or tenants. “And when the owner asks for rent from the tenants, police is being called, while in case of commercial units the people are receiving hefty bills as fixed charges despite shops being closed for last 40 days,” he added.
Anil Gianchandani, the secretary of Delhi Gramin Samaj also backed the demands of the Shahpur Jat and said, “Since lockdown, income from residential units has depleted as the government has asked owners to refrain from seeking rent from tenants.”
Gianchandani said his organisation ‘Delhi Gramin Samaj’ too has written to Kejriwal, seeking relief to inhabitants of nearly 380 villages (mostly urbanised) in the national capital.
“We have demanded from the government the withdrawal of commercial bills and 50 per cent rebate in billed amount for residential units during the lockdown period,” he added.
The government has extended the lockdown for two more weeks till May 17.