An alleged bonhomie between RO companies and BJP-LJP has surfaced. Is Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan guilty of water politics and collusion with RO companies in fabricating a BIS report?
The strongest, greatest, and the oldest emotion of humankind is fear and if one wants to rule, then inflict fear among the ones to be ruled.
Recently, Delhi water politics along with other major cities have inflicted fear as well as anxiety among citizens. Delhi BJP President Manoj Tiwari attacked Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal and his party accusing them of supplying poisonous water. His attack was based on a BIS (Bureau of Indian Standards) report published under Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Ram Vilas Paswan.
Consequently, the news created panic among the citizens of Delhi. Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan took to battle lines. When Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal condemned the allegation and also ensured Delhiites knew the truth.
So, Kejriwal challenged Paswan to reveal the list of samples. Paswan did. Soon media came into action, visited those places and made startling revelations that put the already ambiguous report in the false territory.
Soon AAP leaders questioned and brought out a link between Union Minister Paswan and RO companies
As per BIS 10500:2012 specification for drinking water, all 11 samples from Delhi failed the purity test. However, all 10 of Mumbai’s samples passed. Could it be because Maharashtra was under the BJP government? Is it to gain people’s sympathy as crucial state elections arrive next year in Delhi?
Fabricating Quality Report: AAP Suspects a nexus between BJP-LJP and RO companies
A political slugfest surfaced over Delhi’s water quality and triggered a debate across India. The cities charged with the allegation of failing water quality tests are mainly states where BJP does not enjoy a mandate. Was the move then BJP’s stratagem to defame Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal? Is the narrative of supplying ‘poisonous’ water a gimmick to get the people’s attention before 2020 Delhi elections?
AAP national spokesperson Raghav Chadha demanded Paswan’s resignation on moral grounds for dirty politics over water. He further asserted that RO companies might be in collusion as their businesses are directly affected if people increasingly consume tap water.
Spreading Fear and Panic among Citizens
AAP alleged that BJP-LJP raised this issue prior to SC judgment on NGT order that only inflicted fear and anxiety among the citizens. Chadha said there are many instances that indicate that the government is working to benefit the RO companies. Furthermore, it was revealed that BIS had never before done any such audit on the water quality in its history of existence.
Furthermore, Chadha added, “there is a 30-member ‘Water Purification Sub-Committee’ which handles all “water-related issues” that come under BIS, and all the members of this sub-committee are from water purifier companies, and each of them has at least two members in the sub-committee.”
NGT ban on RO filters in Delhi
As per a media report, six RO manufacturing companies directly or indirectly are members in BIS. This includes Honeywell, Tata Trust, PepsiCo, Hilton Hotel and Kosmos Energy. In May 2019, the NGT (National Green Tribunal) directed the government to prohibit RO purifiers in areas where water TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) level is below 500mg/litre.
NGT had earlier in their report given direction to MoEFCC (Ministry of Environment and Forest and Climate Change) that if TDS is less than 500 MG/litre then RO filters are not useful. On the contrary, it removes essential minerals from water necessary for human consumption. Moreover, ROs also result in undue wastage of water.
WHO study says, TDS below 300mg/litre is good for consumption, 900mg/litre is poor and 1,200mg/litre is not suitable for consumption. NGT further said that the water supplied by Municipal Corporations or Municipalities from surface water, i.e. rivers, lakes, and ponds has less TDS level than groundwater sources.
However, NGT orders to regulate the RO market were not implemented until 4th November. Thereafter, it has given time to MoEFCC and CPCB till 31st December to frame rules as per the report.
Water Quality India Association (WQIA) challenged NGT in Supreme Court
WQIA, a non-profit Trade Association representing RO companies challenged NGT order in the apex court arguing that RO purifiers were necessary to ensure water purity. WQIA argued that 98 districts in 13 states have high TDS. The ban enraged RO companies. NGT also recommended that the water purifier market be classified as per the TDS level of specific areas.
However, it is fascinating that prior to the Supreme Court Judgment over NGT order, BJP-LJP led BIS report was issued in public. The report created an atmosphere of fear and anxiety. However, on 22nd November, SC refused to interfere with NGT’s order prohibiting the use of RO purifier in places with less than 500mg/litre. This event is a setback to both RO companies and the government.
Should there be an inquiry against Union Minister? Samples by DJB passed the test
The government’s decision favouring corporates and fear-mongering is ill-intentioned, to say the least. Moreover, recent events have raised questions on the credibility of government reports and whether they indirectly serve the purpose of corporate.
Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal accused Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan of water politics – spreading lies and misleading Delhi people. Later the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) also accused Paswan of irresponsible actions and tabling a fake and fabricated report in the Parliament about the national capital’s water.
Meanwhile, DJB did another analysis of water purity in Delhi. According to the report, samples from 8 out of 9 places passed the test and were found fit for drinking. Similar samples had failed in the earlier BIS report.