Date: 28/03/2013

Come summer, this scam may cause water riots in Delhi

by Raman Kirpal Mar 28, 2013

#Delhi #Delhi Jal Board #summer #ThatsJustWrong #Tube well scam #Water riot

Now the tube well scam! This scam may not ruffle the political hierarchy, but it has shaken foundations of the Delhi Jal Board. The CBI has booked as many as 30 engineers, including executive and senior level engineers, of the Delhi Jal Board along with nearly 50 contractors and private persons for using cheap brand equipment in setting up tube wells.

Over 200 tube wells may dry in the ‘water-riot’ city of Delhi, because the steel tube or pipe bored into an underground aquifer is inferior and locally made. The tubes used were supposed to be Johnson stainless steel screen mash tube. Instead, the contractors used local tubes on the sly. These tubes may get rusted any day and thus may cause artificial water scarcity during summer in the capital.

Quenching thirst. ReutersQuenching thirst. Reuters

The amount involved in this scam runs into less than Rs 10 crore, but the fear of water scarcity and the involvement of huge number of engineers and contractors into the conspiracy have raised alarms. The CBI has registered 18 cases against these engineers and contractors so far and has already filed five charge sheets in the case.

The Delhi Jal Board has dug tube wells all over the city to use ground water for emergency purposes. In fact, some areas in South and West Delhi are heavily dependent on the ground water. Two-hundred tube wells mired in this scam are located in Karol Bagh, Rohini, Naraina, Rajouri Garden, Tilak Nagar, Najafgarh (all in West Delhi) and RK Puram, Kalkaji, Fatehpur Beri and Tughlaqabad Extension (all in South Delhi). All these areas are prone to water scarcity during the summer.

An executive engineer PK Jain, three assistant engineers NK Khare, BD Arya and Shiv Hari and nearly 30 junior engineers have been booked in the tube well corruption cases. Contractors charged under corruption clauses are M/s Home Decorator Builders and Engineer, M/s India Tube well, M/s Sarawgi and Sons, M/s R B Sales, M/s Water Well Drillers, M/s Bharti Enterprises, M/s Nitin Enterprises, M/s Kadri Tubewells Construction Pvt Ltd, M/s CST & Co., M/s Sri Raghuvendra Borewell, M/s Ravi Goyal and M/s MS Borewell.

According to the Delhi Jal Board specifications, the high quality tube wells were supposed to be fitted with stainless steel Johnson pipe, which have firm structure, temperature and corrosion resistance, good mechanical properties, long service life, safe and reliable characteristics. Even the Contractors’ bills submitted to the Delhi Jal Board certified that they have used the Johnson pipes.

Charges leveled against the engineers, contractors and private persons include gratification taken by public servants, criminal misconduct and abetment to corruption. In five FIRs, the special CBI judge has taken cognizance of the offences, after the CBI filed the charge sheets.