The Delhi Jal Board (DJB) on Thursday cracked down on its employees for mismanagement and corruption at its water depots across Delhi — an action prompted by the Hindustan Times’ series, ‘Raid the Office’.
“This (punitive action) is meant for demonstration effect,” said Debashree Mukherjee, DJB chief executive officer.
Since Tuesday, Hindustan Times had highlighted the rampant corruption and mismanagement at DJB’s pumping stations at Greater Kailash I, Vasant Kunj and RK Puram. The HT series exposed how touts connived with DJB employees to misuse the precious resource and harass people. The touts sold tankers of water to needy consumers who are supposed to get it free of cost.
While action was taken against DJB staff at GK-I, for other places, the official said, the board would first conduct an inspection followed by action wherever needed.
The series exposed how millions of litres were wasted every day at the DJB’s own units at a time when the city was reeling under a severe water shortage.
The DJB also increased vigilance at its emergency stations.
“Our superintending engineer will conduct surprise checks and subsequent action will be taken against employees caught indulging in corruption,” Mukherjee added. Earlier on Wednesday, chief minister Sheila Dikshit had asked Mukherjee to book people who are responsible for the mess.
Experts had thrashed the water utility and pointed out how the problem was less of ‘shortage of water’ for the city and more of a ‘distribution problem’ of the Jal Board.
They also suggested that the DJB should increase vigilance and bring in more transparency at the pumping stations for the benefit of its consumers.Distribution losses have already been pegged to be between 30 and 50%. At a seminar last month, the chief minister too admitted that 42% of water was lost during distribution. But HT’s series pointed out that the losses could be much more.