Shocked by the quality of drinking water supplied in several parts of Delhi,the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued notices to the Chief Secretary and the Delhi Jal Board chairman giving them a month to explain their stand. Underlining that the right to have clean drinking water is a fundamental right of every citizen,the NHRC took suo motu notice of a report in a section of the media on the findings of a survey carried out by Hazard Centre,an NGO. The report had said that only two samples taken from the city were found to be potable.
The report brought to the forefront the distress faced by residents who get contaminated water supply in their homes everyday. The drinking water supplied by the Delhi Jal Board contained harmful substances,alleged the report,adding that the levels of faecal contamination,fluoride and arsenic were above the permissible limit in many areas.
The Commission observed,if these are true then it is a serious issue of violation of human rights of the people of Delhi. Seeking answers,the Commission sent notices to the senior officials concerned giving them four weeks for furnishing a detailed report.
The study,carried out last year,took 53 samples from pipes,tankers,borewells and hand pumps spread across different parts of the city. It aimed to focus on the quality of water at source,assess the efficiency of treatment carried out by DJB,as well as monitor the groundwater quality in zones which the Central Ground Water Board has designated as fresh water. Unfortunately,only two samples were found to be potable,or free of both biological and chemical contamination. Even of the seven samples collected from the nearest points of supply from water treatment plants,only one was found to be free of contamination.
right to water
The right to clean drinking water has been included under Right to Life,as enshrined under Article 21 of the Constitution after various Supreme Court judgments.
South Africa is the only country where the right to access to water is embodied in the Constitution,making the state duty-bound to take reasonable legislative and other measures,within its available resources,to achieve the progressive realisation of this right.