UNDER FIRE after the skeletal remains of a four-year-old boy Yug Gupta, who was kidnapped two years ago, was found in a water storage tank last week, Shimla Mayor Sanjay Chauhan said the tank was cleaned routinely and that water quality has been tested more than a dozen times since 2014. He also said a broken skull and some bones were found during cleaning of the tank in January 2016 — after the jaundice outbreak — but the staff mistook these as remains of animals like monkey.
Addressing a press conference, after BJP and the ruling Congress mounted attacks on the Corporation run by Left-wing leaders over the murder, Chauhan said the corporation, a day after the skeletal remains were found from the tank, had suggested a probe into cleaning of the tank even as the Deputy Commissioner (Shimla) had set up an inquiry in the matter.
“The probe report is expected tomorrow and we will make the facts public. We are not at fault. The tank was cleaned, water was fit for human consumption as no contamination was reported There is a canard being spread to mislead people and divert public attention from the failures of the police agency to recover the kidnapped child who was eliminated after a week,” he alleged .
He took exception to the demand raised in the Assembly by Shimla MLA Suresh Bhardwaj and Congress’s Anirudh Singh seeking dissolution of the Municipal Corporation. “I read somewhere Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh disapproving such a move as undemocratic but look at the mind-set of the two MLAs, and also minister for Urban Development Sudhir Sharma?” he wondered.
The Mayor admitted that there was no SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) in the entire country about period cleaning of the water storage tanks by the Municipal Corporations of any town. He said the water storage tanks will now be fenced and put under lock and key in Shimla – a first in the country and there will be a SOP for cleaning of the tanks and staff will make a proper inventory of items found.