Of the 4,204 water samples collected from each ward in Delhi over the past 10 days, over 98% were ‘satisfactory’, Delhi Jal Board Vice-Chairperson Dinesh Mohaniya said Wednesday.
The sample tests were ordered after a report on water quality by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), which was released last month, claimed that all 11 samples which were picked up had failed quality tests. The report also said that of the 21 cities where similar tests were conducted, Delhi had the worst water quality.
The BIS tests were ordered by Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Ram Vilas Paswan. The Delhi government had called the report “politically motivated”.
On Wednesday, Mohaniya called the BIS report an “ill-motivated attempt to defame Delhi”.
“Strictly following the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) and in the presence of media, Delhi Jal Board collected 4,204 samples — five each from every municipal ward in Delhi. The sample rate aligns with the WHO norms, which is one sample per 10,000 people. The names, phone numbers and addresses of every sample household were recorded to ensure transparency in the process. The sealed samples were tested in the laboratories of the Delhi Jal Board on 29 parameters. Out of the 4,204 samples, 4,128 proved ‘satisfactory’, and 76 samples proved ‘unsatisfactory’. The high rate of satisfactory samples (98.19%) is comfortably within the WHO norms of 96%,” Mohaniya said.
After the BIS report was released, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had alleged that an inaccurate report was published to give benefit to RO (reverse osmosis filteration) companies. The government had also alleged that the controversy was fanned for political gains. Of the 11 locations where samples were collected from, one was Paswan’s Krishi Bhawan office, one his residence, and eight were people who had previously complained of poor water quality. One person had told reporters that a sample was not picked up from his house.
Paswan, meanwhile, had denied the allegations and said that BIS was an international-level agency, whose report should not be questioned.
As part of the exercise to collect water samples, DJB had welcomed all stakeholders, including BIS, but officials from the agency did not join the process.
“With its misadventure to prove Delhi’s piped water is not potable, BIS sacrificed its institutional credibility. BIS has lost its face irreversibly. How will people rely on its standard formulations? BIS being a reputed agency should not get into political and commercial intrigues,” Mohaniya said.