New Delhi, Nov 22 (PTI) Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan accused Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday of doing politics on the issue of water quality in the city instead of addressing the matter.
Vardhan, who holds the portfolios of health, and science and technology in the Central government, defended the Bureau Of Indian Standards (BIS) report on the Delhi's water quality, saying only Kejriwal has questioned the report, which also stated that drinking water in 13 other cities failed quality tests.
'The BIS is an autonomous body working since Independence and it was never questioned by any political party. Water samples of 13 other cities along with Delhi failed tests, but only Kejriwal has questioned it,' he said at a joint press conference at the BJP's Delhi office.
BJP's Delhi unit president and MP Manoj Tiwari, and parliamentarians Meenakshi Lekhi, Parvesh Verma and Vijay Goel were also present at the press meet.
The AAP and BJP are involved in a row over quality of water supply in the city which the BIS report has red-flagged for failing in all quality tests.
According to the report released by Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan on November 16, water in the national capital was most unsafe among 21 major Indian cities and all water samples collected from Delhi failed quality tests.
However, Kejriwal recently claimed that 98.5 per cent of the 1.5 lakh water samples tested by the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) between January and October this year were found to be safe.
Vardhan claimed that the DJB skipped on Friday a meeting with BIS officials to specify modalities for a joint water-quality test in Delhi.
'As a responsible chief minister, Kejriwal should have worked to address the sensitive issue of water quality, but he is involved in politics instead,' he said.
The Union minister also claimed that cases of water-borne diseases among children and other diseases like cholera were on the rise due to contaminated water supply in Delhi.
A film based on complaints of people about 'contaminated' water supply in their localities was also screened at the press briefing.
Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari slammed Kejriwal, saying that since 2014 he has been promising tap-water supply in every household, but has 'failed' to do so.
'Kejriwal's body language while lying is very convincing and it can only be matched to that of an actor from the National School of Drama (NSD),' Tiwari said, while showing a video of the chief minister promising piped water supply to every household on various occasions in the last five years.
He asserted that the BJP was raising the issue as it is committed to fight till everyone is Delhi gets safe drinking water and not because of the Assembly election is approaching.
West Delhi MP Parvesh Verma claimed that 7.5 lakh complaints related to water supply were received by the DJB and the Chief Minister's office in the last few years, and sought to know from Kejriwal what action has been taken on it. PTI VIT VIT NSD NSD