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84% of Delhi Households to Have Reduced Power Bills: Jaitley

File-AP Photo/ Frank Augstein

In a good news for Delhi, the government today said electricity bills of 84 per cent of households in the capital will come down immediately even as it promised better infrastructure, more hospitals and educational institutions to make it a 'world class city'.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, however, gave no indication about end to the central rule in Delhi and merely said a political solution would have to be found to the stalemate with either some party forming the government or fresh elections being held.

He was replying to a debate in the Lok Sabha on Delhi Budget which was later passed by a voice vote.

Talking about the provisions of the Rs 36,776 crore Delhi budget which included Rs 260 crore towards power subsidy, Jaitley said the provisions made the central and the city's budget would reduce the electricity bills.

"Because of provisions in the central budget and this budget, 84 per cent households will get reduced power bills as compared to the previous month," he said.

In the central budget, Rs 700 crore has been provided for power and water reforms.

Referring to the power problems witnessed in Delhi recently, Jaitley said it was because of the weak distribution infrastructure even though the availability was sufficient.

The distribution infrastructure has not seen investment for the past few years and it "cracked up", he said, adding this would be strengthened.

Elaborating on the provisions of the Delhi budget, Jaitley said the proposals include introduction of 1,380 low floor and 400 cluster buses, cleaning of Yamuna, higher pension for over 4.3 lakh aged persons and more schools and hospitals.

Jaitley said provisions have also been made for housing for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) and improvement of water and sewage facilities, addition of 1,400 more beds in hospitals and 110 ambulances. The initiatives also include setting up a multi-specialty hospital at Rohini.

He said that admissions to Rohini medical college would begin from 2015 academic session.

Stressing that Delhi has a cosmopolitan culture and is a mini-India, Jaitley said efforts would made to strengthen academies of Urdu, Punjabi and Sanskrit.

Admitting that Delhi has two faces -- one the prosperous one, while the other which lacks basic facilities -- Jaitley said initiatives are being taken to improve facilities.

On the Centre's proposal to set up 100 smart cities, the Minister said some will be new ones, while others would be developed near the existing smaller cities.

Delhi, the Minister said, has expanded over centuries with people entering the city from different parts of the country and making it their homes.

Adjoining places like Gurgaon, Noida, Greater Nodia and Faridabad too have developed over the years and efforts are on to develop the National Capital Region (NCR), he added.

PEOPLE: Arun Jaitley
SECTION: National
OUTLOOK 30 July, 2014
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