New Delhi: Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday rejected the Centre’s report on water quality in Delhi which claims it is “unsafe” and said a city’s water quality cannot be declared as good or bad with just 11 samples.
Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan had last week said that the capital’s water is unsafe.
Citing the Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Kejriwal said: “On September 26, Shekhawat said that Delhi’s water quality is better than European standards. From 20 locations in Delhi, the Union Water Ministry collected samples to come to this conclusion. All were better than European standards. These are his words, not mine.”
Kejriwal also recalled that the Union Water Minister’s statement came a day after Shekhawat’s cabinet colleague Ram Vilas Paswan had raised questions about the potability of tap water in Delhi.
“When asked, Shekhawat termed the statement of Paswan as his personal opinion,” the Chief Minister added.
He said Paswan’s statement was reportedly based on samples from 11 places.
“From just 11 samples, a city’s water quality can’t be declared as good or bad. We also didn’t get any answers when we requested for the details of the places in Delhi from where the samples were collected.
“Was there anything to be hidden? As per the WHO standards, there should be one sample collected for every 10,000 people in cities. There should have been 2,000 samples taken in Delhi. Now, which Minister is correct – Union Jal Shakti Minister or Paswan?” Kejriwal asked.
He also said that the Delhi Jal Board collects 500 samples every day from different places in Delhi.
“Between January 1 and September 24, the Delhi Jal Board collected 1,55,302 samples.A Among them, only 2,222 samples, that is, just 1.43 per cent failed, while 1,53,080 samples passed, or 98.57 per cent.
“Again in October, Delhi Jal Board collected 16,502 samples, among which only 3.98 per cent samples (658) failed, while 96.02 per cent (15,844) passed. As per WHO norms, the allowable limit of unsatisfactory results is 5 per cent. Delhi’s performance is comfortably within WHO norms”, Kejriwal said.
He said that in the coming days, the Delhi Jal Board will collect water samples randomly from five places in every MCD ward and test for quality.
“We’ll invite the media and Paswan also. After testing these samples, findings along with the sources of samples will be made public.”
Kejriwal said his government is not claiming that all problems in Delhi have been solved.
“In the past 70 years, various governments ruined development in Delhi. Everything cana¿t be done in five years. Still in the last five years, we worked very hard to provide various facilities to people. In many colonies, Delhi government laid new water pipelines.
“We are replacing the sewer lines in many colonies so that drinking water won’t be mixed with sewage and also implementing many projects to improve the quality of tap water in Delhi. It is a work in progress. Regarding water connections and quality of water, in the last five years Delhi witnessed an unimaginable change,” said the Chief Minister.
On Monday, the reported ‘poor’ quality of Delhi’s drinking water featured in Parliament with two BJP MPs — Meenakshi Lekhi and Manoj Tiwari — attacking Delhi’s AAP government on the matter, and Paswan stating that the Central government is not interested in doing politics over the issue but the AAP should go for quality testing of drinking water.
On Sunday, Kejriwal had termed the report as “false and politically motivated”.
Paswan on Monday told the Lok Sabha, that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had asked that the quality of potable water be tested throughout the country as part of the government’s target to bring drinking water to every home by 2024.
Paswan said the report on the drinking water quality, brought out by the Bureau of Indian Standards, was presented to the media on November 16.
He said that Delhi featured at the bottom of the list, with 11 out of 11 samples failing on 19 parameters.
“I want to say with a challenge that no CM can claim that we have done politics on such a matter,” said Paswan.
He suggested the Delhi government undertake mandatory assessing of the quality of water from different areas of the national capital.
“We will welcome such a move, let the Delhi government give us the names of those officials who will be part of the panel,” he said.
Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan and Kejriwal also exchanged barbs on Twitter over water quality in Delhi.
“In the name of free water, you are making Delhi residents drink poison. A survey in 20 cities in the country found the Delhi water to be most poisonous,” Vardhan tweeted tagging KejriwalA
Kejriwal replied that being a doctor, “you know this report is false. It is influenced by politics. People like you should not become a part of the dirty politics”.