Kochi

Committee for checking water tanker lorries lacking teeth

Squad members seek assistance of police, DDMA officials

Confusion prevails over the effective functioning of the committee appointed by the District Collector to check tanker lorries supplying drinking water from December 21 onwards based on a recommendation given by an Assembly legislative committee.

Interestingly, the squad that is tasked with the role of testing quality of water supplied in tanker lorries does not have police personnel and representatives of the District Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) in it.

An order issued by District Collector S. Suhas on December 5 stated that the committee would have Chief Environmental Engineer, Kerala State Pollution Control Board, Ernakulam, as its nodal officer. Other members of the committee included Assistant Commissioner of Food Safety, Thripunitura; District Medical Officer, Health; Regional Transport Officers (Ernakulam, Muvattupuzha); Superintending Engineer, Kerala Water Authority, Kochi/Muvattupuzha; Assistant Controller, Legal Metrology; Deputy Director, Panchayat, Kakkanad; Regional Joint Director, Urban Affairs; Secretary, Kochi Corporation; and District Officer, Groundwater Department.

A preliminary meeting of the squad members held here recently expressed concerns as to whether they would be able to stop lorries and carry out the testing process without the help of the police and DDMA officials.

However, officials of the district administration said that the committee could seek the services of the police before they start the process of checking water tanker lorries. District Police Chiefs (Kochi City and Ernakulam Rural) had been asked to extend all necessary support to the committee, they said.

A senior committee member pointed out that it’s a cumbersome process as they needed to call up police stations and wait till the team arrived at the site of inspection.

“The tanker lorry network remains a powerful one and we fear that our lives will be under threat, especially when surprise checks are held during night hours without the presence of police and DDMA officials,” the member said.

The committee members said that they could only check tanker lorries and lacked the powers to recommend action against violators. “The hurdle can be removed by including DDMA officials in the committee as we can present our findings before them for follow-up legal and punitive action,” they said.

The Assembly committee had suggested that drinking water for tanker lorries should be collected only from hydrants and other supply points of the Kerala Water Authority. It had also clarified that water would be provided only to tanker lorries having GPS facility.

Confusion prevails over the location of the control room from where the movement of the GPS-installed tanker lorries can be tracked by the committee.

“This could be solved by setting up the control room at the headquarters of the district administration at Kakkanad. It can be also monitored by police personnel from a central point,” they said.

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Printable version | Mar 29, 2020 6:03:31 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/committee-for-checking-water-tanker-lorries-lacking-teeth/article30314717.ece

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