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'MC officials compromised on quality'

Inferior-quality chlorinators were installed in around 40 tube wells in villages and rehabilitation colonies in the city, despite the then chief engineer of the municipal corporation having given approval to better-quality chlorinators in 2007.
By Hillary Victor | Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
UPDATED ON APR 06, 2012 05:05 PM IST

Inferior-quality chlorinators were installed in around 40 tube wells in villages and rehabilitation colonies in the city, despite the then chief engineer of the municipal corporation having given approval to better-quality chlorinators in 2007.

According to the MC documents on the project, the public health department officials of Division No 3 had allegedly benefited a company, which allegedly changed the approved make and installed inferior-quality chlorinators.

The MC did not take action against the erring officials. The contractor even installed ammonia gas cylinders instead of chlorine gas ones along with the chlorinators in violation of the detailed notice inviting tenders (DNITs) and agreement of the work.

The matter came to light after HT highlighted how around 50,000 people of the city living in various colonies ran a health risk as the MC had been supplying un-chlorinated water to them for the past three months.

In 2007, MC chief engineer SK Bansal had approved Superior-make chlorinators and in 2009 Jai Bharat Company, Panchkula was allotted the task of installing the chlorinators at tube well boosters in villages and rehabilitation colonies in the city at a cost of Rs 42 lakh.

The contractor, allegedly in connivance with the officials of Division No 3, changed the approved make and installed Echo-Chlor, inferior-quality chlorinators. Both the chlorinators are products of a US-based company.

Later, in August 2009, a complaint was filed with the mayor and the MC commissioner, even before the installation had started. Taking cognizance of the complaint, former MC commissioner Roshan Sunkaria formed a committee to inquire into the matter.

The committee, however, did not allegedly inspect the chlorinators and kept their focus on cylinders only. It found that the cylinders were marked with ammonia gas instead of chlorine. However, officials of the public health department accepted the ammonia gas cylinders and recommended slight modifications - changing gauge and colour of the cylinder.

Mayor Raj Bala Malik said, "When the Superior-make model was approved, why did the officials allow the contractor to install inferior-quality chlorinators, which led to its frequent breakdown. I will take up the issue with the MC commissioner and seek a report on it."

BJP councillor Saurabh Joshi said, "Why did the committee accept the ammonia gas cylinders when they were not part of the DNIT as well as the agreement? Why were they not rejected and sent back? We will take up the issue in the next meeting."

Neeraj Kumar, owner of Jai Bharat Company, Panchkula, said the Echo-Chlor chlorinators were installed as per the detailed notice inviting tenders.

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