Arsenic & Fluoride Contamination still a Problem to reckon with in Assam
On April 1, 2017, the State had 4,523 arsenic contaminated habitations that fell to 1,247 now. Fourteen districts in the State bear the brunt of arsenic contamination.
GUWAHATI: Arsenic and fluoride contamination in water in Assam is on the fall, but it is still a problem to reckon with. As on February 9, 2021, the State has as many as 1,247 arsenic contaminated and 12 fluoride-contaminated habitations.
According to official sources, as on April 1, 2017 the State had 4,523 arsenic contaminated habitations that fell to 1,247 now. Fourteen districts in the State bear the brunt of arsenic contamination. While Nalbari has 454 arsenic contaminated habitations now against 998 in 2017, Baksa has 343 habitations against 1,462 in 2017, Barpeta has 171 habitations now against 529 in 2017. Other districts affected by arsenic contamination in water in the State are Majuli (138 habitations), Dhemaji (49 habitations), Dhubri (32 habitations), Jorhat (27 habitations), South Salmara-Mankachar (13 habitations) etc.
Likewise, four districts in the State are yet to get rid of fluoride contamination. While Kamrup has 8 fluoride-contaminated habitations now against 2 in 2017, Nalbari has 2 against 22 in 2017, Karimganj has 1 against 15 in 2017 and Dhubri has 1 against 93 in 2017.
According to official sources, the Government of India in partnership with States, is implementing JalJeevan Mission (JJM) to provide potable tap water to every rural household in the country by 2024. Under JJM, while planning water supply schemes to provide tap water to households, priority is given to quality–affected habitations.
While allocating funds under JJM to States/ UTs (Union Territories), 10 per cent of weightage is given to the population residing in habitations affected by chemical contaminants, including Arsenic and Fluoride. In 2020-21, allocation of funds under JJM to Assam has been increased to Rs. 1,407.07 crore from Rs. 694.34 crore in 2019-20.
The National Water Quality Sub-Mission (NWQSM) was launched in 2017, which has now been subsumed under the JJM. For this purpose, Rs. 530.96 crore has been released to Assam.