‘City Water is Not Poison, but Slow Poison’- Ex MCC Mayor Sashidhar Hegde during Council Meeting
- ‘City Water is Not Poison, but Slow Poison’- Ex MCC Mayor Sashidhar Hegde during Mangaluru City Corporation Council Meeting, in reply to the comments made by BJP Corporator Sudhir Shetty that opposition party members should not criticize MCC saying that the City water is poison, when it is not and good for consumption, except low pH levels
Mangaluru: Following a complaint by a City lady doctor on getting dirty city water through taps, Team Mangalorean had published a report (Ref: ‘Is MCC Going To Kill Us with Unhygienic, Stinky & Muddy Tap Water’- City Resident in Woes), on 25 August 2020, now we have problems with City water with low pH levels, and Opposition Congress leader Abdul Rouf had raised this issue during the MCC Council meeting on 22 September, which was discussed among the 75 other matters on the agenda. Prior to Rouf bringing up this matter, BJP corporator Sudhir Shetty said that opposition party members should not criticize MCC saying that the City water is poison, when it is not and good for consumption, except low pH levels, and in reply “City Water is Not Poison, but Slow Poison’ said Ex MCC Mayor Sashidhar Hegde, which brought laughter in the house.
While Mangaluru City Corporation (MCC) is yet to initiate action against people responsible for supplying untreated water to the city for over two months during COVID lockdown, opposition Congress leaders, including Abdul Rouf brought to the notice of Mayor Diwakar Pandeshwar, and MCC Commissioner Akshy Sridhar during the August 13 meeting that MCC was supplying drinking water without treating it properly at its plant in Thumbay. The Council had then resolved to conduct an inquiry through, then MCC commissioner. However, even after a month, no action has been taken in connection with the opposition’s allegation. So once again the issue was raised during yesterday’s council meeting by Abdul Rouf and Sashidar Hegde, where Rouf said, “It is a serious lapse on the part of MCC. I have also collected water samples from two City wards and found through lab tests that it is contaminated. I have submitted those reports to MCC”
In response, MCC Commissioner Akshy Sridhar said, “It was found during the inquiry that the pH level of water supplied to the City was low, and MCC will act against the official for his carelessness and negligence based on the reply to the notice. We have already served a show-cause notice to an executive engineer, for the supply of water with a low pH level to the City for more than three months during the lockdown. The normal pH level of water should be between 6.5 and 7.5. However, a report of the water sample analysis showed the pH level to be between 6.3 and 6.4. Though it is not a dangerous level, prima facie there is negligence on part of the officials. Hence, we have given a show-cause notice to the assistant executive engineer. We will take necessary action if negligence is proved, after thorough lab tests and investigations”
Prior to this matter raised in yesterday’s council meeting, a female doctor residing on S L Mathias road in the City had sent a message to Team Mangalorean stating, “For the last two months, the water has been absolutely muddy. Spoke to our area corporator Adbul Rauf who said he had brought it to the notice of the MCC Mayor during the recent MCC council meeting….apparently they have stopped purifying the water due to reasons best known to them…as a result, water is not just muddy, but acidic and unfit for use. There is water disruption at frequent intervals also especially in S.L.Mathias Road…every time we call, there is work going on somewhere..which is fine..but they say after repair initial water will be muddy but clears up later. There is something dreadfully wrong here. This water is unfit for cleaning…and everyone is bathing, cleaning and God forbid cooking with it too.! Are we cleaning ourselves or dirtying ourselves..? I understand with the very heavy rains and floods situation we had last month, the water in the rivers is turbulent and very muddy….But there has to be some filtration process at the main water supply! As a doctor, I’m concerned this kind of water will lead to gastroenteritis, cholera and water-borne diseases..which would be disastrous, to say the least! (on top of COVID)”.
It’s surprising to note that MCC and the officials are still turning a blind eye to this safety hazard when water is considered to be the main source of life. The Supreme Court in one of its past judgement had reiterated that ‘the right to access to clean drinking water is fundamental to life and there is a duty on the state under Article 21 to provide clean drinking water to its citizens but also to protect water sources from pollution and encroachment.’ The right to water is not enshrined in the Indian Constitution as an explicit Fundamental Right but this has been made possible because of a liberal and activist interpretation of the fundamental right to life by the Supreme Court as well as the High Courts of the country in the series of cases before them.
Seems like a Water War going on, where the MCC officials claim that laboratory tests showed that 98% of the water supplied by the corporation is potable and free from contamination, while the opposition party members and residents complain that it’s not true! Corporator Rauf had asserted that he was not interested in politicizing the issue but had raised the matter only in the interest of public welfare. “No political motives are involved in my allegation on the contamination of drinking water. I am voicing my protest in public welfare. MCC under BJP rule has failed in its duty,” said Rauf.
So, are we the citizens of the so-called ‘SMART CITY’ and one of the fastest-growing city of the state, getting safe and clean drinking water? Even if MCC commissioner or the Mayor says “Of course, Yes,”, and stating that the Mangaluru City Corporation takes all necessary steps to ensure that water is purified at different stages before it reaches the people,”-then why are many residents still getting untreated water. There are lab tests done by a few residents, and they are not happy with the results- and many are spending big bucks buying packaged water for their daily needs since MCC water is not potable in most of the wards and contaminated with deadly faecal Coliform. Looks like MCC is supplying POISON, or ‘SLOW POISON’ as said by Sashidar Hegde to Mangalureans in the form of contaminated water!
During the council meeting, the Commissioners said regarding the renaming of Lady Hill Circle will be further discussed in the committee, and a final decision will be taken in the next Council meeting next month. Corporator Lancelot Pinto urged that the inner road leading from Highway to Kankanady Junction Railway Station be named after former Union Minister Late George Fernandes, who is an origin from Bejai, Mangaluru- and the councillors agreed and it would be taken up in the committee meeting soon.