The problem of contamination of water by arsenic and fluoride is serious in the rural habitations
GN Bureau | February 16, 2017
The ground water in parts of various states is a deadly cocktail of fluoride, nitrate, arsenic, lead, cadmium and chromium.
Union minister Sanjeev Kumar Balyan informed the Lok Sabha that the states are assisted technically and financially in providing safe drinking water through the centrally sponsored National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP). Up to 67% of funds provided to the States under NRDWP can be utilized for coverage and tackling water quality problems with priority to Arsenic and Fluoride affected habitations. In addition, the States also received certain funds under the 5% Water Quality earmarked funds.
Read: In Ballia, how poisonous arsenic has ravaged the rivers
The minister said that the state governments have been directed to ensure availability of safe drinking water through Piped Water Supply as a long term measures. Since tackling this problem is a long term measure, Niti Aayog, as a stop gap arrangement, is supporting the state governments for installation of Community Water Purification Plants for providing safe drinking water in the rural habitations of the Country, where, water is contaminated with Arsenic and Fluoride.
Over and above the regular allocation of funds under NRDWP, on the recommendations of Niti Aayog, ministry of finance has released Rs. 800 crore during the financial year 2015-16 as a onetime 100% central assistance to the States affected with water quality from Arsenic and Fluoride in the country.
The minister said that since the problem of contamination of water by Arsenic and Fluoride has been serious in the rural habitations, the central government has taken cognizance of this serious problem and decided to take short-term and long term measures with a ring fenced funding to tackle this problem in the remaining habitations of the country.
Over and above the normal release of funds to the states, during 2016-17 under NRDWP, the centre share amounting to Rs 746.23 crore has also been released to the states affected with arsenic and fluoride under Water Quality Sub-Mission in the ratio of 90:10 (Centre: State) for Northern –Eastern States and 50:50 (Centre: State) other States focusing on mitigation of contamination of Fluoride and Arsenic in drinking water.
Also, water conservation and water harvesting works are on prime focus under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act. In the current financial year, 2016-17, a target of constructing 88,325 Farm Ponds under MGNREGA has been kept.
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