In an effort to convince people that Delhi’s tap water is safe, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Thursday drank a glass of tap water during the second Town Hall meeting called by the AAP in Pitampura.
The quality of supplied water in Delhi has been a matter of debate for over a month. In August, the Bureau of Indian Standards tested tap water samples from 21 cities, including Delhi. As per its report, Delhi fared the worst in all cities and all 11 samples that were picked up failed tests. The Delhi government said the report was politically motivated and painted a wrong picture.
The Delhi Jal Board then picked up over 4,000 samples for testing and its report said 98% samples passed tests. Recently, PM Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah brought up the issue again and said the Delhi government failed to provide safe drinking water to people.
At Thursday’s public meeting, Kejriwal said the number of colonies receiving dirty water had decreased drastically during his tenure. “When our government was formed five years ago, around 2,300 areas in Delhi received contaminated water. We created a list of such locations as well as causes of the contamination, and deployed various resources for the resolution of the issue in each of those areas. Now, only 115 areas in Delhi receive contaminated water, and we are working on providing clean water to these areas as well,” he said, adding that all areas of Delhi will receive clean tap water in the next two-and-a-half years.
Union Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan, who had released the BIS report, tweeted Friday that Kejriwal was duping people. He said he has directed BIS to pick five samples from every ward and present a fresh report in 15 days. For the previous report, 11 samples were picked up.
Kejriwal also said among AAP’s priorities will be to reduce traffic congestion. Asked by an audience member how this will be achieved, Kejriwal said: “Wide roads in Delhi turn into narrow three- or four-lane roads after a few kilometres, creating a bottleneck and heavy traffic jams. Roads at various locations need to be redesigned. We have designated a consultant to create a list of locations where there are daily traffic jams. The consultant will provide us with a roadmap within 9-10 months on how to solve the problem.” He also said AAP’s manifesto will be made after consultations with the public.
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