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No safe drinking water in 900 Delhi schools

The poisonous mid-day meal in Bihar might have raised much concern over the food given to

schoolchildren, but the condition of drinking water in Delhi’s municipal schools is equally

alarming. The three municipal corporations have grossly failed in installing water purification

system in their schools as students are forced to drink stored water. Just over 300 primary

schools in Delhi have RO water purification system installed while children in remaining 900

schools have no option but to use tap water. Official sources said the water tanks in these

schools are hardly cleaned and the water stored in them is unfit for consumption. What is

more shocking, water samples in these schools are not tested on a regular basis, only random

checks are conducted in the areas where the schools are located. Further, in a more

irresponsible manner, the leaders of the three corporations held trifurcation of the MCD

responsible for delay in installation of the water purifiers.

The project of installing water purifiers in its school was flagged off by the unified MCD in

the year 2011. Two years down, the status of the project remains at the installation stage only.

Leader of House in North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC), Mahender Nagpal said the

process of fixing water purifiers in all its school is yet to gain momentum. “Majority of the

municipal schools are running without water purifiers. The trifurcation of MCD last year

stalled the installation process,” he said.

Meanwhile, a senior civic official said that these purifiers have been installed in around 10

percent of the NDMC schools which clearly indicates the lackadaisical attitude of the agency.

The NDMC has 784 schools under its jurisdiction. “We are in the process of installing water

purifiers. Tender process has initiated for installation of 400 purifiers and it will be completed

in the next couple of months,” said Chairman of Education Committee in NDMC, Ram

Kishan Bansiwal.

The condition is no different in the two other municipal corporations — South Delhi

Municipal Corporation (SDMC) and East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC). While the

SDMC has 588 schools, the EDMC has 337 schools under its municipal limits. Sources said

water purifiers are missing in EDMC and SDMC schools, however, water coolers has been

installed in almost all the schools.

However, without giving the exact number of water purifiers installed in SDMC schools, a

senior claimed that majority of schools have purifiers. “I cannot be able to give the exact

number of water purifiers installed in SDMC schools but around 50 schools inspected in the

last one month have been found to be having purifiers,” he said. Meanwhile, water samples

collected by the health department of NDMC till May 11 suggest that out of 6,922 water

samples, 507 of them were found unsafe for drinking in all parts of Delhi. Nagpal said, “Of

the total 507 failed samples, 487 were from six zones of North Delhi where 3,387 samples

were collected. In the joint water test with the DJB, 128 samples, out of a total of 1,565

failed.”

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