By our Staff Reporter
GUWAHATI, April 23: The supply of untreated water to the consumers of Guwahati by Public Health Engineering Department (PHED) and Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) is fraught with the risk of serious health hazards, warranting immediate attention to overcome the situation, observed the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India.
The CAG said this in its report on social, general and economic (non-PSUs) sectors for the year ended March 31, 2016.
Audit observed that in ten piped water supply schemes (PWSSs)—nine of GMC and of PHED— raw water from deep tube wells (DTWs) is being supplied directly to the consumers through pipelines without any treatment or purification by the respective agencies. During joint verification by CAG officials and officials of the agencies, the consumers said that water being supplied to them contain heavy iron, therefore, is not fit to drink. The water quality test conducted by the district-level laboratories also corroborated availability of iron, fluoride and turbidity in the water being supplied to the consumers, the CAG report said.
When pointed out, according to the report, GMC’s superintending engineer of water works said that water treatment facilities and reservoirs were not constructed due to cash crunch and non-availability of space.
The scrutiny of water quality test reports of the functiol schemes revealed that iron is found to have been contamited in 32 schemes, fluoride in seven schemes and turbidity in 14 schemes beyond the permissible limits. It was reported both by the GMC and the PHED.
The CAG said in its report that no records of remedial action, if any, taken by the agencies concerned were found.
This is not all. Insufficient supply of water to the consumers has also been reported in many of the schemes in Guwahati. A joint verification revealed that while 34 (49 per cent) of the 69 functiol piped water supply schemes supply sufficient water to the consumers, the remaining 51 per cent schemes are irregular in supplying water. The quality of water being supplied by them is also far from meeting requirement of consumers, the report added.
However, PHE executive engineer, Guwahati Division II, passed the buck on the user committees for, what he said, the irregular and insufficient supply of water due to poor maintence. “The schemes were handed over to the user committees after their completion and that the PHED is not liable for running and maintence of the schemes,” the report quoted the EE as saying.