GUWAHATI, July 21: To remain safe, check the quality of water that is part of your daily food and drink intake. Assam has as many as 10,917 habitations that have all along been making do with water affected by arsenic, fluoride and iron contamination. And this happens in the State even though there is no dearth of funds to get rid of the problem.
Assam received Rs 220.6339 crore from the Centre against the National Water Quality Sub-Mission for Arsenic and Fluoride-affected States from March 2017 to July 2018. The State also received Rs 11.57 crore in March 2016 for the commissioning of water purification plans as short-term measures to ensure supply of safe drinking water in rural areas affected with arsenic and fluoride contamination in water. However, despite the release of such funds by the Centre, habitations in as many as 26 districts in the State are supplied with contaminated water.
Assam has brought 88,099 rural habitations under the National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP) of the Union Ministry of Drinking and Sanitation. While 52,953 rural habitations have been fully covered, 24,229 habitations have been covered partially. To one’s dismay, even now as many as 10,917 rural habitations in the State are supplied with arsenic, fluoride and iron contaminated water in the State.
While the onus of releasing funds for water purification to the States lies with the Union ministry, the responsibility of implementing the schemes lies with the State government. Since 10,917 rural habitations in the State still get contaminated water even after the release of funds by the Centre, the pertinent query is: Has the Public Health Engineering Department of the State made good use of the funds?
Baksa district is the worst affected in the State with 1,805 habitations (1456 arsenic and 349 iron contamination). It is followed by Nalbari with 1,106 habitations (916 arsenic, iron 169 iron and 21 fluoride contamination) and Udalguri district with 1,096 habitations (149 fluoride and 944 iron contamination). The other affected districts are Barpeta with 709 habitations, Bongaigaon with eight habitations, Cachar with five habitations, Chirang with 120, Darrang with 484, Dhemaji with 432, Dhubri with 414, Dibrugarh with 243, Goalpara with 113, Golaghat with 401, Hailakandi with 3, Jorhat with 961, Kamrup with 180, Kamrup (M) with 1, Karbi Anglong with 71, Karimganj with 15, Kokrajhar with 101, Lakhimpur with 129, Morigaon with 206, Nagaon with 790, Sivasagar with 329, Sonitpur with 695 and Tinsukia with 500.