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Water black marketing implies officials’ negligence or collusion

Surprising incidents of black marketing of water have come to light with the onset of summer season, when the entire state is suffering and struggling with scarcity of water. The water tankers that are supplied free of cost by the Water Supply Department are being sold for Rs 600 to Rs 1000. After this was […]

Surprising incidents of black marketing of water have come to light with the onset of summer season, when the entire state is suffering and struggling with scarcity of water. The water tankers that are supplied free of cost by the Water Supply Department are being sold for Rs 600 to Rs 1000. After this was revelation, an FIR has been registered against four tanker drivers by the Water Supply Department, but no order of action has been issued against any officer. Such case of water tankers being sold, had come to light, even during the Congress rule, where senior officials took action against the software making firm while saving the AEN and JEN. However, legal intervention ensued, with the Water Supply Department receiving rebuke from the High Court and actions against the firm halted. Notably, the software includes safeguards preventing tanker drivers from offloading water without AEN and JEN oversight. Therefore, current incidents of tanker malpractice suggest collusion between AEN, JEN, and tanker operators or negligence on their part.

According to the system, all tankers are GPS-tracked and require OTP approval from AEN, JEN levels before dispatch. Officials monitor every tanker, ensuring accountability. Software allows tracking of driver location to prevent misdirection. Videos of selling water from government tankers have surfaced in Kardhani and Brahmapuri areas of Jaipur city. After receiving a complaint in this regard, an FIR has been lodged by the Public Health Engineering Department against four drivers in Kardhani police station. Additional Chief Engineer Jaipur (II) Amitabh Sharma of the department said that the department was receiving complaints of demanding money in lieu of free tankers, on which action was taken by a team formed under the leadership of the Superintending Engineer (North). He said that an FIR has been lodged in Kardhani police station against the concerned tanker drivers Laxman, Narayan Sharma, Virendra Gurjar and Himmat Singh.

Senior advocate of Rajasthan High Court, Dheeraj Palia, said that till about two years ago, a firm was providing tanker GPS software to the Public Health and Engineering Department. Earlier, when such a case of selling tankers came to light, the firm informed the concerned officials several times, but they did not pay any attention to it. Many letters were also written in this regard that the tankers were going to other places instead of reaching their designated places. Tanker contractors were selling water openly and the officials were aware of this. Palia said that we had clear evidence, but the officials present at that time blamed our firm to save their AEN and JEN. When we took this matter to the High Court, the court issued a notice to the department and reprimanded them and sought a reply and stayed the action being taken against the firm. He said that at that time he also tried to convey the matter to the then ACS Subodh Agarwal, but the lower level officials kept misleading him too. Due to which the case could not be investigated properly. Therefore, even now the officers are in high spirits and water is being sold openly.

Advocate Dheeraj Palia said that the two-year-old investigation is still pending in the water supply department. The reason for this is that we have sufficient evidence of how the officers have been negligent and conniving. Till now, high-level officers are engaged in saving the AEN and JEN in that case. He said that if the matter is investigated properly, action against the high-level officers is certain.

This was the reason that whenever we would convey the matter to the then Additional Chief Secretary on behalf of the firm, the officers would mislead them even before that.

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JaipurTDGThe Daily GuardianWater Black Marketing