Delhi Water Minister Atishi on Tuesday underlined that the capital might face severe water crisis in upcoming days, due to the non release of funds from the finance department, according to sources.
Informing about the development, they said that Atishi alleged that Finance Secretary Ashish C. Verma stopped releasing funds of the Jal Board from August. “She further said that the Finance Secretary of Delhi has not released any funds in spite of a written order of the Finance Minister,” sources added.
“Atishi also said that due to this, salary could not been distributed to the workers and thus they refused to work. Not only workers, but contractors are also refusing to work,” they claimed.
Sources informed that to resolve this problem she also wrote to Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena underlining that Finance Secretary has stopped all funds of Delhi Jal Board (DJB) since August upon the Chief Secretary’s advice.
“Atishi also stated that because of this funds aren’t being released; no money for salaries & routine work is being sanctioned, and all contractors have refused to work. And this might lead to severe water crisis, dirty water, and sewer overflow in many areas; threat of epidemic & emergency-like conditions in the national capital. In this regard, Minister Atishi has appealed to the LG for prompt intervention,” they stated.
“It is a very alarming turn of events that the Finance department of the Delhi Government has refused to release the funds that have already been allotted to the DJB in the Budget 2023-24 passed by the Delhi Legislative Assembly. This is a routine governance procedure and never in the past has the Finance department raised so many objections to stall the release of routine instalments of the Grant-in-aid and Loan to DJB. Yet, this time, under the leadership of Ashish C. Verma, the Finance and Planning departments have been repeatedly posing new and different objections each time the previous objection is resolved. It is clear as day that Ashish C. Verma has malafide intent and plans to prevent the release of the 2nd installment of the Grant-in-aid and loan to the DJB.” the letter read.
“Ashish C. Verma’s obstructionist tactics have led to a severe resource crunch in the DJB. Due to this, the vendors of DJB have not been paid and have now refused to do even routine maintenance and cleaning work essential for maintaining the water supply and providing a functional sewerage/drainage system in the national capital. Water tankers are refusing to ply and provide water to the slums of Delhi. This is bound to lead to a public health crisis and an epidemic-like situation in Delhi. The responsibility for this public crisis rests squarely on Ashish C. Verma’s shoulders. It is shocking how an officer alone is holding the whole of Delhi to ransom with his shameful obstructionist tactics,” the letter further read.