'India being wrongly blamed for bacteria in drinking water'

'India being wrongly blamed for bacteria in drinking water'

Secretary, Department of Health Research and Director General of Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) V M Katoch said India was being unnecessarily and wrongly blamed in the matter.

"Singling out India is wrong. We have spent our entire life in science," he said, adding that "the motives are not scientific. I have said it on the first day also".

Asking people not to panic, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said, "The Delhi Jal Board has very categorically said that this is not the case. I am in touch with the CEO and he said that it is not so. So please don't spread panic when there is no (need to) panic".

Director General of Health Services R K Srivastava said, "Definitely there is something wrong and we are condemning it".

One of the authors of the Lancet study Mark Toleman has accused the government of "suppressing the truth" about the presence of a drug-resistant bacteria in Delhi's public water system by "threatening" and "abusing" its own scientists.

It also dubbed as "unfortunate" the government's denial of presence of such bacteria. "The research is entirely scientific. If you look at our publication record for the last 10 years you will find that discovering new and emerging mechanisms of resistance is what we have been doing for 10 years," Toleman said.

"You will also notice that we have done similar studies on isolates from many different countries. Furthermore, a responsible response would be to empower Indian scientists to do similar studies.

"Unfortunately the Indian government is in denial and actively suppresses the truth by threatening and abusing their own scientists," the author said.

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