Checks on private water tankers come to a standstill

It follows replacement of Collector’s orders with govt. guidelines

The inspection of private water tankers to find out possible distribution of contaminated water has come to a halt in the city.

The situation emerged after a meeting of the district administration held on February 18 to discuss drinking water supply by private tankers announced that the orders issued by the District Collector had been replaced by government guidelines.

The appointment of an eight-member squad to check water tankers on a regular basis was one of the key decisions taken at the district-level on the recommendations of the Assembly Committee on Petitions. The committee had taken a strong position following complaints that water tankers had been collecting water from illegal sources.

Officials of the special squad pointed out that they used to conduct regular checks at select points in the city and the outskirts over the last few weeks. Two-thirds of the samples taken from tankers drawing water from private wells were found to have the presence of coliform bacteria, an indication of faecal contamination. There is no clarity whether the State-level guidelines insist on such regular monitoring and checks, they said.

The official communication issued by the district administration after the meeting also lacked clarity whether water tankers should install Global Positioning System (GPS) to enable enforcement agencies to track their movement. The Assembly Committee had on December 6 recommended that the district administration set a deadline for operators to set up GPS facility. Even though January 31 was fixed as the deadline, only a handful of tanker operators had installed the facility.

Meanwhile, Motor Vehicles Department (MVD) officials admitted that they had not been told to take action against tanker operators who had not installed GPS on their vehicles. “We have almost completed the registration of tankers operating in the district,” they said.

According to the district administration, the State-level guidelines say that drinking water should be supplied by tanker lorries that have Food Business Operator (FBO) licence under the Food Safety and Standards (Licensing and Registration) Regulations, 2011.

All drinking water supply sources, other than the Kerala Water Authority hydrants, should have FBO licence. Water should be collected for distribution only from such licensed sources. The sources should have certificates proving the safety and quality of water. At the same time, water quality should be tested every six months at government laboratories or those accredited by the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories.

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Printable version | Apr 3, 2020 7:58:33 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/checks-on-private-water-tankers-come-to-a-standstill/article30937058.ece

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