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Defective water pipes: Haryana to take stern action

The Haryana government has sought an explanation from the superintendent engineer, public health, who accepted defective water supply pipes that had been rejected by the Rajasthan government. The pipes were meant for water supply schemes in Rohtak, the hometown of chief minister, Bhupinder Singh Hooda.

Haryana’s public health minister, Randeep Singh Surjewala, told FE that the government had asked the engineer concerned to “explain why he had accepted the defective ductile iron pipes supplied by Jindal Saw Limited”. A high-level probe had also been ordered. A technical committee would “inspect each and every pipe supplied by the said company”, he added. Mr Surjewala said in the event of any irregularity, “not only would the supplied pipes be rejected, but stern action would be initiated against the company.”

The state’s high-power purchase committee had taken serious note of the matter and had called a meeting to discuss the issue. The meeting, also attended by Jindal Saw representatives, lasted more than 10 hours.

The probe followed the FE expose on April 21, on water supply pipes worth Rs 20 crore being accepted by Haryana. The pipes had earlier been rejected by the Rajasthan government for various defects like “damaged lining, presence of ovality, damaged mouth of pipes and absence of requisite inspection report”. Mr Surjewala said the total requirement of ductile iron pipes by Haryana during the current year was about Rs 35 crore.

On the demand by All India Cast Iron Pipe Manufacturer’s Association that pending the enquiry, the government should stop accepting further supplies from the said firm, Mr Surjewala said the government would ask the company for fresh supplies with a new certification from DGS&D, before accepting these pipes. He said he was “tough with the Jindal Saw Limited representatives particularly because the company is owned by a close relation of a minister in Haryana.”

Surprisingly, the company concerned was commissioned only about a year ago and did not fulfill vital criteria. Yet, it was accepted and allowed to supply pipes for water in Haryana.

Meanwhile, the Pipe Manufacturers Association said over 90% of the time allotted for supply of pipes had expired, and only about 10% of the ordered pipes had reached the state.

As summer had already set in, people in the Haryana urgently needed water. Th association, therefore, urged the government to take a prompt action in this regard.

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