1618 hamlets in 13 districts of Bihar arsenic-affected

Patna: The underground water of 1618 hamlets in 13 districts of Bihar have arsenic contents of more than permissible limits prompting the government to set up arsenic treatment plants in 10 districts at a cost of Rs1100 crore.

Bihar minister for Public health and Engineering department (PHE) Ashwini Kumar Choubey said today that after examination of underground water of the districts, situated on both flanks of Ganga, it had been found that 1618 hamlets in 13 disticts did have arsenic of more than the permissible limits.

The water treatment plant at Ara in Bhojpur district was ready, the treatment plants in three other districts were near completion and work on rest were under progress, he said.

The districts having more than the permissible limits of arsenic in its underground water have been identified as Buxar, Bhojpur, Patna, Saran, Vaishali, Samastipur, Begusarai, Khagaria, Katihar, Munger, Bhagalpur, Lakhisarai and Darbhanga the minister said adding that the government had initiated steps to provide potable water to the people living in the hamlets of affected districts.

Choubey said to provide safe drinking water to the people of arsenic-affected hamlets, the government in the first phase has decided to dig up two sanitary wells in 838 worst arsenic-affected hamlets as a short term measure.

So far 575 sanitary wells have been constructed while work on the rest was in progress.

The minister said the government had decided to use Ganga water to provide safe drinking water to 39 arsenic-affected villages of Bhojopur district.

The water would be treated and then supplied to the arsenic-hit villages of the district under ‘multi-village’ scheme that would be completed by March end this year.

Choubey said the government sanctioned the multi-village scheme for 130 arsenic-affected hamlets in Buxar, 25 villages in Patna district and 45 villages of Vaishali that would be completed during 2010-11.

The government has sanctioned a scheme of Rs107.17 crore for supply of drinking water using ‘upper bed’ water in the worst-affected 39 villages falling under Matihani and Baruauni blocks of Begusarai district.

Similar steps have been undertaken to supply safe drinking water to 67 villages of Samastipur and 86 villages of Bhagalpur at a cost of Rs 82 crore and 78.29 crore respectively.

The minister said besides the arsenic-hit villages, the government would launch a a separate scheme for 8188 hamlets of 11 districts having excess fluoride in the water.

The fluroide-affected districts identified by the department are Nalanda, Rohtas, Kaimur, Gaya, Aurangabad, Nawada, Bhagalpur, Banka, Munger, Jamui and Shiekhpura, Choubey said.



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