States ready to make BIS standard mandatory for piped drinking water: Paswan

New Delhi, Dec 9 () The state governments are in agreement for making the BIS standards 'mandatory' for piped drinking water to ensure safe and quality water to people, Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said on Monday.

At present, BIS standards on piped drinking water are voluntary in nature. The Centre is considering making it mandatory and the nodal consumer affairs ministry has written to the Jal Shakti ministry in this regard.

The proposal comes amid tests conducted by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) on drinking water, which found water quality in Mumbai as per standard but poor in many state capitals, including Delhi.

"We discussed in detail with state governments. They said they follow the BIS standards and even Delhi Jal Board (DJB) said it follows BIS standards. .... After the discussion, there was a view to make the BIS standards mandatory. DJB said they don't have any issue on this," Paswan told reporters. Advertisement

He was addressing the media after a day-long workshop organised to sensitise state government officials about the requirement of BIS standards for drinking water.

Barring three-four states including Uttar Pradesh, Paswan said there was representation from most state governments and union territories in the workshop.

"Everyone's view was that BIS standards on piped drinking water was good and everyone should follow it," he said, adding that authorities in every state should take samples and test them if they adhere to BIS standards or not.

BIS is the national standard body established under the BIS Act 2016 for harmonious development of the activities of standardisation, marking and quality certification of goods.

About the quality of drinking water in Delhi, the minister said it was told that the source of water needs to be checked before it is released to the treatment plant for further supply to households. He also mentioned that Maharashtra follows the BIS standards and others too should be able to do so. Advertisement

"We don't have personal interest. Our intention is to ensure quality piped drinking water to the poor," Paswan said.

Another round of discussion with states governments in this regard will be held two-three months later, he added.

Under the BIS Act, there is a provision that standards formulated for any products can be made mandatory. BIS has sent a draft quality control order to the consumer affairs ministry, proposing that standard on drinking water as a product and standard on entire supply chain or control points should be made mandatory. Advertisement

To check the quality of water, BIS has conducted two phases of testing and plans two more rounds of sample collection and testing.

In the first phase, samples of drinking water were drawn from 11 different locations across Delhi and in the second phase, 10 samples were drawn from 10 locations in 20 state capitals.

On November 16, Paswan released the second phase of the BIS study which stated that Delhi along with Kolkata and Chennai failed in about 10 out of 11 quality parameters for drinking water. Advertisement

Samples of tap water collected from Mumbai were found to be compliant with the Indian standards for drinking water.

However, other metro cities of Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai failed in almost 10 out of 11 quality parameters tested by BIS, which is under the aegis of the consumer affairs ministry.

Similarly, samples drawn from 17 other state capitals were not as per the specification 'Indian Standard (IS)-10500:2012' for drinking water. Advertisement

In the third phase, samples from the capital cities of northeastern states and from 100 smart cities will be tested and their results are expected by January 15, 2020.

While in the fourth phase, it is proposed to test samples from all the district headquarters of the country and the results are expected by August 15, 2020. LUX ABM

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