Time-bound plan needed to address contaminated water -Mayank Aggarwal
* Contamination of groundwater with chemicals like arsenic and fluoride is an important issue in several states of India. Even though government has schemes to address the problem not much has been achieved.
* Authorities have been repeatedly told that efforts on war-footing are needed to protect millions of Indians from the contaminated groundwater but the work is yet to acquire the pace needed.
* The parliamentary standing committee on rural development has now asked the central government to devise a time-bound action plan to supply clean drinking water to areas affected with contaminated water.
Groundwater in over 25,000 habitations across India is contaminated with excess arsenic and fluoride levels. To address the issue, a parliamentary committee has now asked the Union Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation (MDWS) to devise a time-bound plan to achieve the target of supplying clean drinking water to the contaminated areas.
In India, 15,811 habitations are affected by arsenic and 9,660 habitations are affected by fluoride, said the central government’s Minister of State for Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation Ramesh Chandappa Jigajinagi while replying to a query in parliament in December 2018.
Of the 15,811 habitations affected by high arsenic levels, 13,577 (about 85 percent) are in West Bengal (9,250) and Assam (4,327) alone. As far as fluoride-affected habitations are concerned, of the 9,660, Rajasthan has the most with 5,176 habitations followed by West Bengal with 1,263 habitations.
Last year, in March 2018, the parliamentary standing committee on rural development expressed concern on arsenic and fluoride contamination in drinking water in many habitations and asked the union ministry of drinking water and sanitation (MDWS) to take steps on “war footing” for a solution, stating that the “pace of work” to address the issue is “extremely slow”, leading to more habitations being affected.
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