Delhi’s water quality row: CM Kejriwal, Union minister Paswan face-off on selection of panel members
A tussle over Delhi’s tap water quality started on November 16, when Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan shared findings of a study conducted by the BIS, which suggested that Delhi’s tap water had failed quality tests.Updated: Nov 21, 2019 08:04 IST
The ongoing tussle between the Delhi government and the Centre over the Capital’s water quality intensified on Wednesday, with exchange of letters between chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and Union consumer affairs minister Ram Vilas Paswan.
Kejriwal on Wednesday wrote to Paswan nominating Delhi Jal Board’s (DJB) vice-chairman Dinesh Mohaniya and member Shalabh Kumar Sharma for the joint committee that is being set up by the Central government for testing Delhi’s water quality.
Paswan, in turn, responded by challenging the nomination of Mohaniya —an MLA of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), who represents the Sangam Vihar assembly constituency — saying the nominee has to be a “non-political” individual.
The Centre has nominated two senior officials of the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) for the committee, Paswan said.
A tussle over Delhi’s tap water quality started on November 16, when Paswan shared findings of a study conducted by the BIS, which suggested that Delhi’s tap water had failed quality tests. The study stated that Delhi — along with Kolkata and Chennai — failed in almost 10 out of 11 quality parameters of drinking water.
A letter with the nominated members names was sent on Wednesday by Kejriwal to the office of Paswan. HT has seen a copy of the letter.
Kejriwal’s correspondence was in response to Paswan’s letter dated November 18, in which he had informed Kejriwal about the joint committee and asked for nominations.
Paswan responded to Wednesday’s letter with a letter of his own, in which he red flagged Mohaniya’s nomination. He later tweeted a copy of the letter. In his letter, Paswan also said that the Ccentral government will nominate 32 more officers for a separate exercise that the Delhi government will take up later this month.
Under that exercise, which was reported by HT on Wednesday, the Delhi government said it will launch a similar drive by next week to test the quality of supplied drinking water across the city for which the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) has drafted a proposal to set up 32 teams to collect water samples from all 272 municipal wards in Delhi and get them tested in eight laboratories that will be engaged in the drive.
“We are ready to send 32 more names for that exercise. But we urge the Delhi government not to nominate political individuals for that exercise and to ensure that BIS protocols are followed in the process,” Paswan said.