Ombudsman orders cleaning of drains

KOCHI, MARCH 24. T.K. Chandrasekhara Das, Ombudsman for Local Bodies, today directed the Mulanthuruthy village panchayat to clean the drains in its area daily so as to prevent contamination of drinking water.

The order follows complaints raised by a group of residents of the panchayat that drinking water in the area was being contaminated as it got mixed with polluted water.

"It is the primary responsibility of the village panchayat to provide drinking water.

The panchayat should clean the drain daily till an alternative water supply scheme is in place for the panchayat," Mr. Das said.

Scheme drawn up

In his submission, the village panchayat secretary stated that though the panchayat had drawn up a scheme of Rs. 70,000 for a drinking water supply scheme during 2002-`03, it could not complete the project. During the current fiscal, the project had been revised with an estimate of Rs. 1.5 lakh and is under the consideration of the panchayat.

The panchayat secretary also submitted that it would take at least six months for the project to be implemented.

The Ombudsman directed the panchayat authorities to regularly clean the drain till the project is completed and ensure that the drinking water was not polluted.

If the panchayat fails to clean the drains till the project is completed, the plaintiffs are at liberty to bring to the notice of the Ombudsman, the order said.

Cases from Kottayam and Idukki districts were also considered today.

Of the 40 cases that were considered today, 14 were disposed of.

The Ombudsman will hold its sitting in Kochi from April 26 to 28 at the GCDA conference hall.

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