Will fix accountability on pending sewer issue: Atishi

| | New Delhi
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Will fix accountability on pending sewer issue: Atishi

Saturday, 16 March 2024 | Staff Reporter | New Delhi

Delhi Water Minister Atishi on Friday said she will order an enquiry into the nearly 8-month-long pendency into the sewer-related issues and fix accountability.  Speaking in the Delhi Assembly on the issue of water and sewer problems, she said such issues had not even come up during the Covid-19 lockdown. "It is very rare that the opposition and the ruling party are on the same page regarding water issues and everybody wants a solution," she said.  During the debate, Chief Secretary Naresh Kumar along with officials were present in the Delhi Vidhan Sabha. Atishi informed the assembly that officials have begun work on the water and sewerage issues across Delhi. Orders were given to investigate the causes of this problem over the past year.

The Arvind Kejriwal government on Friday called a special session of Delhi Assembly to discuss the issues related to water and sewer problems. “The Chief Secretary presented a report on the actions taken during the past week. It was stated that many complaints have been addressed, while others will be resolved promptly. The lack of coordination between the Delhi Jal Board, Urban Development Department, and Finance Department over the past year has cost the people of Delhi dearly. There should be an investigation into this, and strict action should be taken against those responsible. Immediate and long-term solutions to issues such as sewer overflow, contaminated water, and pipeline leaks were presented, and these solutions have been passed by the Vidhan Sabha unanimously,” the AAP government said in a statement.

On March 9, a resolution was presented in the Vidhan Sabha regarding the growing problems of sewage and water. The Vidhan Sabha directed the Chief Secretary to resolve water supply and sewage issues within a week. Following the Vidhan Sabha’s stern directives, the Chief Secretary has undertaken work related to sewage and water issues in the city over the past week and assured progress on several fronts. This information was presented today by Water Minister Atishi in the Vidhan Sabha.

"In the last one week, work was carried out to resolve sewer issues. If they could be resolved within four to five days, why did they remain unresolved for so long. This is a matter of investigation," Atishi said while speaking in the House.

 The minister said she will issue directions for an inquiry into the matter and conceded there was a lack of coordination between the Delhi Jal Board, Urban Development department and Finance Department.  "The problems arising in the last one year have not risen in Delhi's history.  Sometimes there are no sewer machines, or a pipeline has burst right in the middle of the road or there is leakage in the pipeline. The resolution of issues regarding water and sewer has always been a difficult task in Delhi," she said.

 Noting that the scale of Delhi's infrastructure growth does not match the scale of migration, she said such problems were taken care of even during the Covid-19 lockdown, when the city faced an emergency.

The fault lines between the Delhi Jal Board, Urban development and Finance Department have come out in the open. People of Delhi have to bear the brunt of this. All the people sitting in this House get salaries from the taxpayers' money. People of Delhi have faced issues. It needs investigation and after that a white paper will also be brought out," she added.

The minister stressed that someone has to be held accountable — whether it is the DJB members or other departments' officials.

The minister also informed the Assembly that they have signed an MoU with Himachal Pradesh for release of water to Delhi.

"But Haryana has put a roadblock saying they have the first right on that water. I request the BJP to help us in this since they have a government in Haryana. If they support our case in the Upper Yamuna River Board, we will start getting 100 MGD of water the next day," she said.

The minister informed the Assembly that Chief Secretary Naresh Kumar has personally taken the responsibility for groundwater augmentation.

 The government will also set the timeline for the desilting of trunk sewers and peripheral sewers, she added.

On March 8, Atishi had written to Chief Secretary saying the Delhi Jal Board has more than 10,000 unresolved complaints.

"I am shocked that senior Delhi Jal Board officers have not been able to take any long-term corrective action in the matter despite recurring complaints. In the absence of an effective public grievance system, the people of Delhi are being forced to live in inhuman conditions," she had then said.

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