The Delhi Jal Board on Thursday said water supplied by the agency is completely safe for consumption.
The statement came after international medical journal The Lancet Infectious Diseases published a report, saying that a gene that makes bugs highly resistant to almost all known antibiotics has been found in the bacteria present in Delhi’s water supply.The gene was also found in two samples of drinking water along with seepage samples.
“We want to assure citizens that Delhi water is safe for drinking. The water supplied by the agency conforms to the standards prescribed by the Bureau of Indian Standards,” said DJB CEO Ramesh Negi.
The two positive samples were picked up from Ramesh Nagar, west of the Yamuna river. “The report also states that the strain cannot grow in tap water as it is chlorinated,” Negi added.
The research was done by Cardiff University’s Timothy Walsh. As many as 171 samples were collected from seepage water and 50 public tap water samples from sites within a 12 km radius of central New Delhi between September and October 2010 to test how common New Delhi Metallo-beta-lactamase(NDM-1) gene is in bacteria found in waste and tap water in urban Delhi.
The NDM-1 gene was found in two of the drinking water samples and 51 of seepage samples, the researchers said. Also, bacteria positive for NDM-1 were grown from two drinking-water samples and 12 seepage samples.
“We would expect that perhaps as many as half-a-million people are carrying NDM 1-producing bacteria as normal (gut) flora in New Delhi alone,” said Mark Toleman of Britain’s Cardiff University School of Medicine, who led the study.
The Union health ministry has rubbished the report.