New Delhi, Nov 22 (PTI) Fending off the BJP's offensive on the issue of water quality in the national capital, the Delhi government said on Friday the samples from eight out of nine places in the city that figured in a BIS report have been found fit for drinking in a second analysis.
The Arvind Kejriwal government also alleged that the Bureau of India Standards report, released by Union Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan on November 16, was 'fabricated' to benefit manufactures of reverse osmosis (RO) purifiers.
While Chief Minister Kejriwal said he was not interested in doing politics over the issue and was ready to redress any complaint about dirty water, Paswan termed it 'an admission of guilt'.
The issue resonated in Parliament and outside with members of the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Aam Aadmi Party sparring over it.
In the Rajya Sabha, BJP's Vijay Goel raised the issue of 'poor and unsafe water' in Delhi, which was countered by AAP MP Sanjay Singh. Outside, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan led the BJP's charge and accused Chief Minister Kejriwal of doing politics over the serious issue instead of addressing it.
The BJP and its ally, the Lok Janshakti Party, also staged protests in the city, questioning the AAP government's claim on providing safe drinking water.
The Centre and the city government have been trading allegations since Paswan released the report that said water samples collected from 11 places in the city failed quality tests on 19 parameters.
Addressing a press conference, Delhi Jal Board Vice-Chairman Dinesh Mohaniya said a second analysis of the samples from nine out of the 11 places mentioned in the BIS report revealed that the water is 'fit for drinking. The results contradict the BIS findings'.
Three laboratories tested the samples on 31 parameters, he said.
Mohaniya also said Water Quality India Association (WQIA), a body of RO companies, had approached the Supreme Court against the May 2019 order of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) that banned the use of reverse osmosis systems where drinking water supply had total dissolved solids (TDS) less than 500 mg per litre.
'WQIA presented this BIS report before the apex court. It is a very strange coincidence,' he said.
AAP national spokesperson Raghav Chadha also alleged that a 'false report' was prepared to create an atmosphere in favour of the RO companies.
Mohaniya said water samples could not be collected from two places, including the official residence of Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan, while one sample failed tests on one parameter, it had less than required chlorine content.
The sample from the house of one Geeta Devi in Janta Vihar was found 'unfit for drinking' as it had less-than-required chlorine content, he said. 'Even the sample taken from Paswan's office in Krishi Bhawan has been found fit for drinking,' the DJB vice-chairman said.
Mohaniya said he didn't know why a sample could not collected from Paswan's official residence -- 12, Janpath.
'The house of one Vinod Kumar in Sonia Vihar is locked for the last three months. We have not been able to reach him on phone. It is also not known if BIS officials collected a sample from his residence,' he said, adding the Delhi government will start collecting samples from the entire city on Saturday.
Public notice will be issued informing people and the media of places from where water samples will be collected on a particular day.
'The media can cover the entire process. We will ensure complete transparency. After a sample is collected, it takes 48 hours for the results to come out. We will share them with the media and the public,' the DJB vice-chairman said.
Asked if BIS officials will be part of the process, he said they have 'lost their credibility, but they can come if they wish to'.
Hitting out at the BJP and the Centre, Kejriwal said, 'They have nothing to do with the city's water, and they are just doing dirty politics.' Kejriwal, who is also the chairman of the Delhi Jal Board, said around 2,300 points were facing water quality-related issues when the AAP government took over in 2015 but now this number has come down to 125.
'If there is any colony where dirty water is being supplied, we will definitely address it,' he said.
Reacting to it, Paswan tweeted, 'Kejriwalji has accepted there are issues concerning water quality in Delhi. We have been saying it from the starting that there should be no politics on the issue and efforts should be made to resolve the problem at the earliest.' PTI GVS BUN VIT UZM PR NSD NSD