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Slashing electricity tariff by half, AAP govt's top priority in Delhi
Will completely overhaul the system, changes will be visible within two months, says 'soon to be a minister' Somnath Bharti
Wednesday December 25, 2013 7:35 PM, Amiya Kumar Kushwaha, IANS

The AAP will "completely overhaul" the system and changes will be visible within 60 days, Somnath Bharti, set to become one of Delhi's six ministers, said Wednesday.

Slashing the power tariff by half -- one of the key promises made by the Aam Aadmi Party -- will remain on top of the agenda, he said.

Somnath Bharti

"We will completely overhaul the system, and changes will be visible within two months of our coming to power," the lawyer-turned-legislator elected from Malviya Nagar in south Delhi told IANS.

"Fulfilling the promises made by our party is on top of every leader's agenda.

"Our first priority is to reduce the power tariff. If needed, we will give subsidy to the people.

"We will recommend a CAG (Comptroller and Auditor General) audit for the three private power distribution companies in Delhi," he added.

The 39-year-old Bharti further said that providing drinking water to each household in Delhi in addition to supplying 700 litres of free water daily -- another election promise -- was of vital importance.

Delhi needs around 1,100 million gallons of water a day. Officially, the supply is falling short by 50 million gallons but some say the shortage is much more.

According to the 2011 census, about a quarter of Delhi's 17-18 million people do not get treated piped water.

"We will generate more water so that we can solve the problem of scarcity," said Bharti, who defeated Congress leader and former education minister Kiran Walia by 11,758 votes.

"We are doing our homework, and all the 18 promises made in our manifesto will be implemented as soon as possible."

Speaking at his Malviya Nagar office, Bharti told IANS that the AAP would also study the "loopholes and shortcomings in the implementation of policies" by the Congress, which ruled Delhi from 1988 to 2013.

"We will spend the first two weeks on studying how the Congress worked," he said, without giving more details.

Apart from providing basic amenities like electricity and water, the masters in science from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Delhi said corruption had seeped into the system and had to be weeded out.

Acknowledging the importance of bureaucrats in the government's smooth functioning, he reiterated his party's stand of protecting and encouraging honest officers a la Ashok Khemka of Haryana and Durga Shakti Nagpal of Uttar Pradesh.

"Bureaucrats are the architects of government policies, we will take care of them.

"Every official will be closely watched. We will identify the corrupt officers in every department and remove them from their posts. The honest officials will be encouraged and protected," said Bharti, who was born in Bihar and moved to Delhi in 1992. He studied law in Delhi University.

"Most honest officials in our system are feeling suffocated as they are forced to work under the pressure of corrupt ministers and bosses. We will mend this."

The common man will feel the changes immediately, he added.

"Moreover, we fought the election on the anti-corruption plank and we have to prove ourselves.

"If we can't control corruption, it will send a wrong message to the public," Bharti said.

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