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Jal Gram in Each District; Safe Drinking Water for All by March 2017
Nov 28, 2014

The Government has set March 2017 deadline to provide safe drinking water in country’s 17,995 habitations where rural people are being forced to consume contaminated water (laced with fluoride, arsenic and heavy toxic metals) causing major health problems. To achieve this, the Union Ministry of Water and Sanitation has outlined a two-pronged strategy entailing installation of community water purification plants or through piped water supply from alternate safe drinking water sources in the affected States within next three years.

All habitations affected with contaminated water shall be accorded highest priority and safe drinking water (8-10 litres per capital per day) has to be ensured through installation of community water purification plants or through piped water supply from alternate safe drinking water sources by March 2017. The scheme will be implemented in a phased manner. No relaxation in this regard will be allowed.

At present, the States are using funds under National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP) through alternate safe piped water supply schemes including multi-village schemes, but as the gestation period is long (four to five years), the government feels, rural people’s health cannot be put to risk in the interim period. The funds for the proposed plants will be doled out through the NRDWP funds.

According to the government data, around 14132 habitations are affected with fluoride, 1991 with Arsenic, 1550 have reported Manganese metal, while water quality in 14 habitats is affected with copper. Lead and uranium have been found from water in 94 habitations and 143 habitations respectively.

Prolonged consumption of arsenic may lead to arsenicosis and cancer while fluoride may cause dental, skeletal and soft tissue flurosis. Besides, toxic metals like cadmium, chromium, zinc and selenium have also been found in water from some states which may cause variety of diseases including cancer.

Jal Gram in Every District: The centre will start Jal Gram (Water Village) scheme next year. Initially the scheme will be implemented as a pilot project. The village with utmost water scarcity in every district will be indentified as Jal Gram. Assistance of voluntary organizations will also be taken in the scheme. Later the scheme will be implemented in every district of the country. The concerned  ministry will celebrate next as water conservation year and during this various programmes will be organized in every district of the country to create awareness about water conservation.

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