Special Correspondent

Lab tests indicate presence of E.coli bacteria

HYDERABAD: Contaminated water not at a remote village in the State but right in the Secretariat, the seat of administration !

The quality of water made available in the Secretariat to 6,000 odd employees working in the premises and hundreds of daily visitors has become a big a question mark as it is smelling bad and slightly coloured these days.

Along with the staff, journalists, to their dismay, on Tuesday found the water supplied in different blocks, including in the peshis of some Ministers, to be contaminated and with odour similar to the one emanating from the water drawn from a prawn-culture pond.

Laboratory tests conducted on the water samples taken from the taps in the nine blocks (buildings) in the Secretariat indicated presence of E.coli bacteria in it. Alarmed at this, the maintenance officials of the Secretariat collected their own samples and sent for tests at the Institute of Preventive Medicine here. The institute is expected to give its report on Wednesday-Thursday.

The water supply to the taps in the Secretariat premises is being made through about 30 overhead tanks built over the blocks. Nonetheless, these tanks are not cleaned regularly with bleaching powder and chemicals as required. As a result, the tap water in the premises which was once acclaimed as the best for drinking purpose, is opted out and instead, packaged, purified and bottled water sold by private companies are preferred.

Even for small meeting held in the premises, let alone the big ones addressed by Chief Minister K. Rosaiah, Ministers and senior officials, mineral water bottles appear on the tables. This amounts to openly admitting that the water supplied through taps is impure and unfit for human consumption. Hundreds of cans of mineral waters are being brought in daily to fill the coolers at huge cost.

It has been found that the overhead tank on “L” block was cleaned on February 28, the one on “D” on April 25 and those on other buildings, including the one in which the Chief Minister's office located, in March.

M. Hanumantha Reddy, president, AP Secretariat Association, led employees to Chief Secretary S. V. Prasad, demanding supply of clean water. Mr Prasad pulled up officials of the Roads & Buildings Department who look after the maintenance of overhead tanks and instructed metro water supply board to ensure supply of quality water.

He issued orders for setting up of reserve osmosis (RO) plants in each block connected to coolers, to supply clean water. One such plant has already been launched in “L” block. The RO plants for other blocks have been planned by June-end.