CPPR Chairman, Dr D Dhanuraj comments in a news article published in the The Times of India. He says “Citizens are entitled to safe drinking water. Corporation’s health squads have the power to check the documents produced by the truck owners and raid the sources from where they source the drinking water”.

Image source: The Times of India

With water quality becoming a growing concern, experts say it is for the Kochi corporation to ensure the availability of safe drinking water to its residents.

They said that the corporation’s health inspectors are vested with the powers to check tankers supplying water within its limits.

“Citizens are entitled to safe drinking water. Corporation’s health squads have the power to check the documents produced by the truck owners and raid the sources from where they source the drinking water,” said D Dhanuraj, chairman, Centre for Public Policy Research. He also said that district collector, RDO and other senior officials can take up the responsibility of checking the trucks.

“When it is a matter concerning public health, the local body can intervene. Certain guidelines have to be followed while taking the water samples for testing. The most important aspect is that there should be a witness to attest the samples collected,” said a senior councillor, on condition of anonymity.

Deputy mayor KR Premkumar said that the corporation is seriously looking into the issue. “I will discuss the matter with my colleagues in the local body to figure out what can be done. This is a serious subject, which deserves utmost attention. We will definitely act,” he said.

Ironically, the corporation’s inability in ensuring rain water harvesting facilities and ground water replenishing methods have contributed to the present water crisis. The failure on behalf of the local bodies, including municipalities and panchayats in the city’s neighbourhood in effectively maintaining water sources have also worsened the situation.

“Even if huge amounts are spent on cleaning and reviving ponds and other water sources in the panchayats and municipal regions, they are not properly maintained. The local bodies have to ensure that waste and other hazardous substances are not dumped in the water sources. People should know that the waste they dump in the water comes back to them,” said an official with district administration.

Former mayor and town planning committee chairperson KJ Sohan said that these are areas which the corporation has completely ignored. He said that though the city receives heavy rains during monsoon, no major effort has been taken to preserve water. “There is an absence of proper planning,” he said. He also said that the local body should be equipped with required manpower and resources for carrying out such activities.

This news article was published in The Times of India on March 1, 2020. Click here to read