Seeks Vigilance, KWA reports by April 10

The frequent pipe-bursts in the State capital have made the State Human Rights Commission on Monday register a suo motu case apart from deciding to issue a notice to the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau (VACB) to inquire into the ‘mystery’ behind the pipe-bursts.

In a statement here, SHRC chairman J.B. Koshy said it was necessary that a VACB probe was conducted into the frequent pipe-bursts in Thiruvananthapuram city to reveal the ‘mystery’ behind the bursts.

The suo motu case was being registered on the basis of recent newspaper reports, he said.

The Commission has also served notices on the Managing Director, Kerala Water Authority, Principal Secretary (Water Resources), and the Director, VACB, asking them to submit ‘comprehensive’ reports by April 10.

Mr. Koshy, in the statement, said availability of drinking water was a human rights issue. The pipe-bursts in the Corporation limits had denied drinking water to many.

Complaints

“The Commission has received complaints from the public on the lack of supply of pure water.

“There have been complaints of officials not reaching the spot in time even after being informed of pipe-bursts. There are also complaints that officials of the Kerala Water Authority (KWA) are extending support to contractors who are minting money and also to drinking water tankers to make profits,” the SHRC chairman said.

The SHRC’s move has come at a time when doubts have been raised about the possibility of a deliberate attempt behind the pipe-bursts, particularly the four simultaneous bursts on the 1,200-mm pre-stressed concrete transmission mainline carrying water from Aruvikkara to the Observatory Hills in the city on February 25.

In fact, from February 16, various pipelines in the city have had nearly 10 bursts, starting from one on the 1,200-mm PSC pipe from Aruvikkara on February 16 near the Kummi pump-house, which cut off water supply to a major portion of the city for over 24 hours.

The four-point burst on this pipe near Peroorkada on February 25, the eve of the Attukal Pongala festival when tens of thousands of people had converged in the city from across the State, threw water supply into disarray for over two days.

Four more pipe-bursts

The subsequent bursts were on March 3 again on the same pipe near the Kummi pump-house; on March 6 on a 400-mm cast iron pipe from Peroorkada on the Muttada-Vayalikada road; on March 7, the same 400-mm pipe near Ambalamukku; and on Sunday, another one, this time termed a ‘minor’ one by the KWA, near M.G. College on the Kesavadasapuram-Nalanchira road.