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LG Saxena slams Delhi Jal Board over pathetic, unhygienic conditions at Wazirabad Water Treatment Plant

New Delhi: Delhi Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena on Monday slammed the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) for not addressing any of the concerns raised by him, substantively after his visit to the Wazirabad Water Treatment Plant (WTP) and its feeder pondage area, read an official release.

According to the release, Delhi LG, V.K. Saxena had written to Chief Minsiter Arvind Kejriwal, after his visit to the Wazirabad Water Treatment Plant (WTP) and its feeder pondage area on March 9, flagging the pathetic and unhygienic conditions at the site. The DJB in its report dated April 6, has neither addressed the issue of the quality of water being supplied from the Wazirabad and Chandrawal WTPs, nor has it submitted any immediate plan for the desilting of the pondage area supplying raw water to these WTPs. It has also not detailed any action that it intends to take against the erring officials, stated the release

Reacting to the report submitted by the DJB through the Chief Secretary to whom a copy of the note written to the CM had been marked, Saxena noted that directions mentioned in his note were not addressed in the actual letter and spirit.
"I have perused the submissions on pre-pages and at the outset deem it appropriate to observe that the shortcomings and directions mentioned in my note have not been addressed in actual letter and spirit," he noted.

"Despite my clear direction to expedite the de-silting or cleaning of the Pondage area at Wazirabad Barrage, the timelines drawn not only reflect a lack of urgency but also do not fix accountably upon those concerned. There is also no mention of the plans for upgradation of the WTP, which was desired to be taken on priority," he added.

The LG in his previous note to the Chief Minister on March 11, after his visit to the WTP and the pondage area seek urgent intervention from CM Kejriwal into the state of affairs prevalent at WTP and the feeder Pondage area.
"It is with a sense of deep distress that I seek your urgent intervention into the state of affairs prevalent at the Wazirabad Water Treatment Plant (WTP) and the feeder pondage area at Wazirabad Barrage, that feeds the Wazirabad WTP and the Chandrawal WTP," he said.

Seeking clear answers and actions, Saxena underlined the quality and kind of water supplied to the people of Delhi and said that they are playing with the health of Delhi people by supplying them with contaminated water.

Saxena said, "It would be pertinent here to ask in the interest of Delhi, as to, What kind of water is being supplied to the people of Delhi? What is its quality and is it really potable? Aren't we playing with the health and life of the people of Delhi by supplying them with contaminated water?"

"Is this justified in the National Capital of the country? Can Delhi afford to lose out on 9,12,500 million gallons of water only because DJB did not desilt/clean its storage ponds? questioned Delhi LG.

Saxena further also demanded strict action against the officials for gross dereliction of duty and criminal misconduct.
He said, "In view of the above, while the immediate starting of desilting/cleaning of the pond area and upgradation of the WTP needs to be undertaken, it would also be essential that strict action is initiated against officials responsible for this gross dereliction of duty and criminal misconduct."

"It is also recommended that visits aimed at supervision and monitoring be undertaken on a regular basis by authorities so as to identify shortcomings and rectify the same in a concurrent manner," he added.

However, despite the urgency of the issue that involved the threat to the health and lives of lakhs of people dependent on water supply from the Wazirabad and Chandrawal WTPs, the Action Taken Report by the DJB has been found to be extremely shoddy and perfunctory, and does not even address the basic issues apart from not fixing responsibility and taking action against the guilty officials.

The LG has accordingly written in his note to the Chief Secretary, "It is again emphasised that providing potable drinking water of adequate standard to the Citizens of Delhi is the foremost responsibility of DJB, which should never be compromised. Any dereliction in this regard should be immediately identified and exemplary action should be initiated against the erring officers/officials."

"However, from the conclusions/ suggestions/ actions proposed in the instant report, it is discerned that my concerns have not received the expected response. The reasoning adduced in respect of the grave lapses observed during my inspection is unacceptable to say the very least," he added.

Demanding action against the erring officials, the LG has noted, "I am of the considered view that major penalty proceedings are required to be initiated against all the officers named in the report submitted by DJB."

"Further, the role of other officers who were issued memorandums be re-examined to ascertain any negligence on their part and action be taken," he added.
He has also asked for an Action Taken Report on the matter to be furnished to him within 15 days. (ANI)

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