Water in 29 of 30 districts polluted; CAG says testing labs suspect

Water_Pollution_Jind_16BENGALURU: Groundwater in 29 out of 30 districts in the state is contaminated by one pollutant or the other but don’t trust a quality testing laboratory to give you the accurate picture. The comptroller and auditor general (CAG) has red-flagged these laboratories for generating fake reports -by claiming to have tested samples and not doing so -and for suffering crippling staff shortage.

Water contamination, prevalent from coastal Karnataka to arid regions like Chitradurga, directly affects 76 lakh people in 1,219 habitations. While the contamination data is accessed from the ministry of water resources, river development and Ganga Rejuvenation, a CAG report tabled in the assembly last week pointed out the lack of credibility in these reports.

“In July 2015, a total of 30 borewells were drilled in Ukkunda village of Ranebennur (Haveri dis trict), of which 23 failed due to nonavailability of water and only seven were functioning. However, the taluk laboratory reported that it has tested water samples from all 30 borewells… No action has been taken against the lab,” the CAG said.

The rules stipu late that 100% of the water sources are to be tested at the sub-di visional labs for both bacteriological and chemical or physical parameters, while 10% of samples (which include positively tested ones) are to be tested by district labs, apart from routine cross-verification by the state-level lab.

However, the CAG found that labs were “deficient in their functioning”. It said: “…They were not adequately staffed and the existing staff were not trained and hence could not conduct tests for all envisaged parameters, particularly bacteriological contamination”.

The districts affected are Bengaluru Urban, Bengaluru Rural, Belgaum, Ballari, Bidar, Vijayapura, Chikkaballapur Chamarajanagar, Chikmagalur, Chitradurga, Davanagere, Dharwad, Dakshina Kannada, Gadag, Kalaburagi, Hassan, Haveri, Kolar, Koppal, Mandya, Mysuru, Raichur, Ramanagara , Shivamoga, Tumakuru, Yadgir, Uttara Kannada, Bagalkote and Udupi. Kodagu is the only district that does not figure on the list.

“Yes, there are issues pertaining to testing labs and the government is doing everything it can. We’ve written to the government that these labs be transferred to our directorate so that all matters pertaining to groundwater are carried out smoothly. A decision is awaited,” Sanjay Shettennavar, director of the Groundwater Directorate told TOI.
The CAG has found violations in the way some of the equipment for these labs was purchased, including cases where orders were placed without the Cabinet’s approval.
The auditor has also pointed out issues with the state’s scheme to install water purification units, aimed at providing safe water to people.While 9,519 such units were sanctioned in eight districts where the CAG conducted the audit, only 5,941 have been commissioned.

Post source : http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bengaluru/water-in-29-of-30-districts-polluted-cag-says-testing-labs-suspect/articleshow/59153476.cms

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