Staff Reporter

Protest against acute water crisis in many parts of the Capital

NEW DELHI: The Delhi Jal Board awards all small and big tenders for providing drinking water and maintenance of sewage system only after they are approved by its Chairperson, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, said Delhi BJP president Harsh Vardhan over the weekend demanding that she resign on moral grounds following registration of a corruption case by the Central Bureau of Investigation against former Jal Board Chief Executive Officer Rakesh Mohan.

Addressing a protest demonstration by BJP workers on the acute water crisis in many parts of the city, Dr. Vardhan also sought a CBI inquiry into all the tenders approved by the Jal Board during the last eight years.

About what ails the water supply system, Dr. Vardhan said while the Sonia Vihar water treatment plant was ready in 2002, it could be started only four years later in 2006 as the raw water pipeline had not been laid. "And now when the pipeline is laid," he said, "the plant is not working at its full capacity due to shortage of raw water."

Likewise, he said, while Rs. 315 crore has been paid to Haryana for construction of Munak Canal being constructed parallel to the Western Yamuna Canal, it is not yet complete despite the target date for completion being December 2005.

During the protest, a large number of BJP workers comprising mainly women from South Delhi and Delhi Sadar staged a dharna and resorted to road blockade at the Jal Board headquarters in Jhandewalan.

The protesters also smashed earthen pitchers in front of the Jal Board office to show their anger.

Saket MLA Vijay Jolly and Tughlakabad MLA Ramesh Bidhuri demanded that since the Chief Minister had been unable to supply sufficient water to the people she should step down.

The demonstration was also attended by former Union Minister Vijay Goel and a number of newly elected party councillors.