Andher Nagari Delhi

City fumes at govt’s power stand

“As Tax Payers We Are Empowered To Fight For Rights “: Residents

      The Delhi government on Friday had told the Supreme Court that people do not have a fundamental right to electricity and it was not the courts job to decided what steps needed to be taken to improve the power situation. 

  With the Delhi government neither augmenting generation capacity for years, nor allowing the Supreme Court to take up their cause, Delhiites are fuming. Since most of the changes here, for which the government happily takes the credit — like introduction of CNG-run public transport and rain water harvesting — took place after the judicial intervention, people wonder why the courts are not being allowed to help ensure a better power supply.

         A frustrated SC even told the government: ‘‘We can’t see people crying. Our intention is to help citizens and to make their life comfortable. We can’t tell them we can’t do anything.’’

   ‘‘Has the Delhi government done anything to prove itself on the power front? Have they managed to win the confidence of the consumers? What right they have to tell the SC not to interfere in their affairs. If the SC does not come to the aid of harassed citizens, where will they go?’’ said Ratnesh Kriplani, a resident of Mayur Vihar II. While power supply remains a grey area, consumers’ bills have spiralled ever since electronic metres replaced the old ones.

         What angered residents most was the government’s claim that citizens do not have a fundamental right to power.

         ‘‘If that’s the case, then what are we paying taxes for. You can’t deprive a citizen of his basic human rights of water and power and say they have no right on them. As a taxpayer, we have every right to fight for our rights,’’ Manish Arora, a lawyer from Safdarjung Enclave firmly stated.

         Residents Welfare Associations (RWAs) were also taken aback by the government’s stand. ‘‘The Delhi government should apologise for making such an inflammatory statement like this. It sends a wrong signal. In the proposed masterplan, there is a big gap between demand and supply and the government has only ignored it. In such matters, only the Supreme Court can intervene. Then how the government can say that issues like power and water are not within their jurisdiction,’’ said Pankaj Aggarwal, general secretary of the Joint Front RWAs.

        Some RWA members feel that the government was only hitting back to the Supreme Court and challenging their supremacy after having suffered at the hands of courts so often. ‘‘The Supreme Court is not interfering in the daily functioning of the government. They only step in when the government fails to do their job and the consumers end up paying the price,’’ said Col U N Kohal, officiating president of the Joint Front RWAs.


07 May 05

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