After having to deal with water woes, thanks to lackadaisical planning, Goans can at least hope to receive water from tankers that is safe to drink. And although the Water Resources Department (WRD) published a public awareness notice on May 9, 2023, in various newspapers regarding water tankers requiring to have stainless steel tanks and certification by the Directorate of Health Services and Ground Water officer, whether any of this will come to fruition is a different matter.
GOACAN has stepped up and sought clarification from the Directorate of Health Services on whether its officials have the technical knowledge to certify the stainless steel tanks on water tankers which are used in the transportation of potable water.
In a letter to Dr Geeta Kakodkar, Director of Health Services, GOACAN has asked the director of DHS whether the Directorate of Health Services has the technical know-how to certify these stainless steel water tanks and, if so, which officer at the DHS will provide this certification?
Also, whether this certification will be done at the level of the Primary Health Centre, Urban Health Centre and Community Health Centre as well, is yet to be ascertained.
It was further pointed out that in The Goa Ground Water Regulation Act, 2002 and Rules 2003 under Rule 9(2), Form X, there are a declaration and instructions which refer to the DHS issuing a no objection certificate on the suitability of the tanker for carrying potable water.
Moreover, under Rule 9(5), Form XI, it is stated that "The licensee shall obtain a No Objection Certificate from the Directorate of Health Services, every six months, on the suitability of the tanker for carrying potable water."
GOACAN has also brought to the notice of the director of DHS that if the certification is being done by the health officers not having the necessary expertise, or if certification is not being done despite being stated in the Ground Water Act, 2002 and Rules 2003, then it would amount to a "deficiency of service" under The Consumer Protection Act, 2019.
GOACAN has requested the director of DHS to do the needful in the interest of consumers whose health and safety are at risk due to the current improper use of water tankers in the state while supplying potable water to consumers.
Copies of the GOACAN letter have been sent to the chief secretary, respective district collectors, chairpersons of the District Consumer Protection Council and the director of Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs.