The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislative caucus yesterday called on Taichung Mayor Jason Hu (胡志強) to stop lying and take responsibility for solving the problems stemming from the city's asbestos water pipes.
DPP caucus whip William Lai (
"Mayor Hu is known for his articulateness and sense of humor, but it requires more than those qualities to run a city. The ability to carry out a policy plan, honesty and responsibility are equally important. But I'm sorry to see that Hu lacks the latter features," Lai said.
Lai also called on Hu to accept the challenge of his election rival Lin Chia-lung (
Lin has been trying to get Hu to hold a policy debate on city affairs, but to no avail.
Producing copies of official documents issued by the Taiwan Water Corp (TWC) in March and June, as well as last month, Lai said that the water company has tried to urge the city to speed up the process of replacing certain sections of its water mains made of asbestos, which is considered a carcinogenic material. These pipes provide tap water for about 150,000 people.
Hu on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against Economic Affairs Minister Ho Mei-yueh (
Ho yesterday said that the city government should carry the blame for the delay in replacing the asbestos pipes, because the water company had earmarked the budget last year, but the city kept postponing the project.
"I strongly recommend that Mayor Hu withdraw the lawsuit to prevent wasting judicial and administrative resources," she said.
According to Ho, the asbestos water mains were installed in the 1980s by the Taiwan Provincial Government. In 1993, the Environmental Protection Administration requested that the TWC start replacing asbestos water pipes after asbestos was listed as a toxic chemical.
The water company began the replacement project in 1994 and has almost completed the project, except for the remaining 4km of piping in Taichung City.
DPP Legislator Wang Shu-hui (王淑慧) said that she feels sorry for Taichung residents, because their mayor is someone who "lies, eludes responsibilities and knows nothing more than asking for more money from the central government."
Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) called Hu "shameless."
She yesterday urged the city to replace the water mains as quickly as possible and berated Hu for shifting the blame to someone else.
Hu yesterday said that he had not been aware that there were still two asbestos water mains left in the city. He blamed the water company for "cheating" the city for the past 17 years by not informing officials of the situation.
Hu promised to start the replacement project as soon as possible, preferably last night at the earliest.