Paswan accuses Kejriwal of politicising water issue

Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Ram Vilas Paswan. (PTI file photo)

Union Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan on Wednesday said tap water in Delhi is not fit for drinking and accused Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal of not taking the issue seriously and rather playing politics.

Rejecting Aam Aadmi Party's (AAP) charge that he was favouring RO (water purifier) companies, Paswan alleged that the Delhi chief minister wants to favour such companies by continuing to supply poor quality water.

Paswan reiterated his demand that a joint committee, comprising officials of the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) and the Delhi Jal Board (DJB), be constituted to retest the tap water supplied in the national capital.

Paswan and Kejriwal are engaged in war of words over quality of water in the national capital, after a BIS survey released on November 16 revealed that water samples collected from 11 places in the city failed quality tests on 19 parameters.

"The issue of poor quality of water in Delhi is becoming serious. But the Delhi government is not taking it seriously. It's my mission that safe water should be supplied not only in Delhi but across the country," Paswan told reporters here.

"Tap water supplied in Delhi is not good for drinking. Set up a joint committee to test water and make amendments," the Union minister said.

Paswan said he has written to the Delhi chief minister on November 25 suggesting setting up of a joint committee.

The water samples should be tested in the NABL (National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories) accredited labs, he added.

Paswan again dared Kejriwal to serve tap water at all official meetings if he believed that it was safe to drink. He said the chief minister's claim that water supplied in Delhi is of European standard is "laughable".

He slammed Kejriwal for raising questions about the credibility of the BIS, an autonomous body that has developed around 25,000 quality standards on various products.

The Union minister reiterated that the BIS conducted water quality survey in capitals of 20 states and informed that no other state has questioned the BIS report.

Paswan said any test conducted by the state government would not be acceptable to the BIS.

By conducting tests through the DJB, the chief minister wants to sweep this issue under the carpet, Paswan said. "This is an injustice towards people of Delhi," he added.

The test results have snowballed into a major political row ahead of Assembly elections in Delhi with the BJP using them to target AAP government in Delhi and Kejriwal hitting back by questioning the tests itself. 

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