1984 anti-Sikh riot victims await free power in Delhi

New Delhi: Even as the Delhi government announced 200 units of free electricity for people in the national capital, it is yet to keep its promise of giving free power supply to victims of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots here.

According to data accessed by IANS, free electricity up to 400 units is being provided to only 368 households out of the total 2,274 victim families provided houses by the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board.

In his 2019-20 budget speech, Delhi Finance Minister Manish Sisodia had said that since the AAP came to power, 90 per cent of households in Delhi were getting subsidized electricity.

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“In addition, a special scheme for exemption of 100 per cent subsidy on domestic power consumption and waiving off all outstanding bills has also been implemented for the victims of 1984 anti-Sikh riots,” Sisodia had said.

But government data suggests that only about 15 per cent of the victims have benefitted till March.

When contacted, a Power Department official said the process was underway and the scheme will be extended to all the families soon.

Shiromani Akali Dal leader Manjinder Singh Sirsa denounced the slow pace as “unfair”.

“The victim families have a right over free electricity. First, they put a cap on the free units and now the benefit has only been given to a few. We have repeatedly demanded that the victim families should be given all their rights,” he told IANS.

Some 3,000 Sikhs are known to have been killed in Delhi in the riots that enveloped the city after the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by two of her Sikh bodyguards. 

On August 1, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced that people in the city will not have to pay anything for consuming up to 200 units of power per month.

For consumption of electricity between 201 and 400 units per month, about 50 per cent subsidy will be provided on the electricity bill, Kejriwal had said.

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