'Experts confirm high level of pesticides in bottled water'
NEW DELHI FEB. 9. Scientists and experts of the Department of Science and Technology have confirmed the findings of the Centre of Science and Environment about the high level of pesticides in bottled drinking water.
In a letter to the Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, the Minister for Science and Technology and Human Resource Development, Murli Manohar Joshi, said the experts had studied in detail the original report on the analysis of the pesticide residue in bottled water (Delhi region) brought out by the Pollution Monitoring Laboratory of the Centre and found considerable merit in their findings and conclusions.
Underscoring the need for stringent measures to check contamination of bottled water, Dr. Joshi suggested more precisely defined quantitative standards. "The current standards prescribed by the Bureau of Indian Standards for packaged drinking water and natural mineral covered under the relevant Prevention of Food and Adulteration Act are obviously inadequate.
These standards simply say that the pesticide residue should be below detectable limits, when tested in accordance with relevant methods.
These standards are only qualitative and not precise," he said.
Dr. Joshi also underscored the need for standard procedures to monitor the quality as well as fixing responsibility at different levels including packaging.
In the interest of consumers, correct accurate and quantitative labelling needed to be evolved and mandated.
He said it was shocking to see that the content of pesticides were several folds higher than the stipulated levels, even in the case of popular brands.
"This is a matter of serious concern, as it has great implications on the health of the people."
Gargi Parsai / THE HINDU, FEBRUARY 10, 2003
Janjhavathi project remains a non-starter
VISAKHAPATNAM FEB. 9. The Janjhavathi Medium Irrigation Scheme (JMIS) for which the foundation stone was laid by the then Chief Minister, Jalagam Vengal Rao, in 1976-77 following an agreement with the Orissa Government, still remains a non-starter but it can be turned into `liquid gold' by linking it to three more rivers originating in the Eastern Ghats. The project had been embroiled in a controversy over the years apparently due to lack of initiative and will-power by the powers-that-be to finalise the modalities for payment of compensation to 10 villages of Orissa which would be submerged (four fully and the remaining partially).
Due to the delay, the cost had shot up to Rs. 125 crores. A sum of Rs. 10 crores had been spent for the earthdam and maintenance works. The tenders for the spillway regulator valued at Rs. 20 crores were in the `finalisation stage,' according to officials.
As per the A.P.-Orissa agreement, each State would get a share of 4 tmcft. Orissa has no plans to utilise the water for irrigation due to its (river's) flow on the hilly terrains. Orissa must shell out a huge amount to lift the water for irrigation whereas Andhra Pradesh can draw the water through gravitation by spending a minimum amount.
S. Satyanarayana, retired Chief Engineer (Medium Irrigation), who visited the dam site at Rajyalakshmipuram on the border in Komarada mandal near Parvathipuram in Vizianagaram district on Saturday, said that the Janjhavathi water could be converted into liquid gold by linking it to the Suvarnamukhi, the Champavati and the Gosthani rivers. This, if implemented, can put a fullstop to the drinking water crisis faced in Visakhapatnam.
``Yes, it can be transformed into liquid gold by linking Janjhavathi to the three rivers. Of four tmcft allocated for irrigation, the Government can divert 1 tmcft for drinking water. The inter-linking will ensure a guaranteed supply of 17 tmcft without much investment,'' Mr. Satyanarayana said. The 32-km-long Janjhavathi Right Main Canal, which ends at Sitanagaram, could be linked to Suvarnamukhi (on which Vengalrayasagar project is built) at the termination point by extending the canal to Thatipudi reservoir. The reservoir is constructed on the catchment area of Gosthani. The canal stretching over a distance of 70 km could be linked to Champavati (Andra) and Gosthani at Thatipudi. Thus, the water received at the reservoir could be transported by laying a 70 km-pipeline.
THE HINDU, FEBRUARY 10, 2003
French team hails water treatment programmes
Pondicherry Feb. 9. The Secretary of State in the French External Affairs Ministry, Renaud Muselier, who led a nine-member team to Pondicherry, told presspersons at the end of the visit today said there was scope for further expansion of the ties between France and India. He said he had visited the French Government-run research and educational institutions and was impressed with the ties prevailing between the two countries.
Mr. Muselier met the Lieutenant Governor, K. R. Malkani, and appreciated the programmes of the Union Territory Administration in water treatment and management.
He said there had been increase in the number of Indian students in France from 250 some three years ago to 3,000 now.
The French Consul General in Pondicherry, Michel Seguy, was also present.
THE HINDU, FEBRUARY 10, 2003