The Delhi government Friday released findings of the water quality tests conducted in nine of the 11 locations, from where officials of the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) had collected samples and declared water quality to be worst in Delhi (out of 21 cities).
The Delhi Jal Board could not collect samples from Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan’s house at Janpath while one of the sites — a house at Sonia Vihar — was found locked.
Samples from the nine locations were tested on 31 parameters. One failed as the water did not have enough chlorine in it, DJB vice-chairperson Dinesh Mohaniya said, adding that the new results prove serious procedural lapses occurred when BIS collected the samples earlier.
“Among the nine samples collected, eight including that of Krishi Bhawan were found fit for drinking. Only one sample taken from Geeta Devi’s house at Janta Vihar was found biologically not satisfactory due to inadequate residual chlorine i.e. just one parameter,” Mohaniya said, adding that the tests were conducted in three labs in different localities.
Meanwhile, Delhi ministers and AAP officials alleged the study was done to benefit RO (reverse osmosis filtration) manufacturers, after the National Green Tribunal banned their use in areas where TDS (total dissolved solids) was less than 500. The verdict was challenged in the Supreme Court, which asked the manufacturers to approach the Centre.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, however, said there should be no politics over the issue: “When our government was formed in 2015, water quality was bad in more than 2,300 areas. Today, complaints of bad water quality are received from less than 125 areas. I do not want to do politics over water. The Opposition is only playing dirty politics over water. I would only like to request everyone, through the media, to give us information about dirty and contaminated water, and we will resolve the issue as soon as we can.”
He had earlier called the BIS report “politically motivated”.
Delhi BJP leaders, meanwhile, accused Kejriwal of ignoring the main issue. Defending the report, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said, “BIS is an autonomous body working since Independence; it was never questioned by any political party. Water samples of 13 other cities along with Delhi failed tests, but only Kejriwal questioned it.”
He said the water distribution system in Delhi is defective due to which people are becoming victims of water-borne diseases. “Pipelines need to be replaced because they are broken in various places, leading to sewage water mixing with drinking water,” Vardhan said at a press conference at the Delhi BJP office.