Article courtesy of Kulwinder Sandhu | August 7, 2015 | The Tribune | Shared as educational material
The government has decided to provide clean drinking water to residents of 85 villages in Moga district through canals. The underground water in these villages has traces of uranium and arsenic, posing threat to people’s health.
Additional Deputy Commissioner (ADC) Arvinder Pal Singh Sandhu said Rs 250 crore had been earmarked for this purpose in association with the World Bank under the Punjab Rural Water and Sanitation Sector Improvement Project.
He said 85 villages in Moga-I, Baghapurana and Nihalsinghwala blocks would be covered under the project. The underground water in these villages is polluted with traces of uranium, deadly arsenics and other impurities.
The drinking water to these villages will be supplied from the Abohar branch of canal. The water will be filtered using modern technologies and then supplied to the people through pipelines.
The ADC said 18 villages would be covered during the current financial year and tenders had been floated for four villages.
A senior officer of the Water Supply and Sanitation Department said harmful traces of uranium and heavy metals had been found in the underground water at more than 150 villages of the 252 villages, tested, so far, in Moga. There are a total of 337 villages in the district.
The traces of uranium had been found in the underground water in 82 villages and the district headquarters in Moga city, aluminium contents in 21 villages; nitrate, iron, nickel, lead in 52 villages and mercury, selenium in one village each. Iron content has been found in excess in 35 villages. Moreover, in the past 10 years, more than 2,200 people had died of various types of cancer in Moga district.
Earlier, the department had installed 202 reverse osmosis (RO) plants in 193 villages; besides, five in Baghapurana town and one at the mini-secretariat in Moga city to provide clean drinking water to the people. The proposals of 50 more RO plants were also under consideration.
Barjinder Singh Brar, chairman, Punjab Health Systems Corporation, said the state government was committed to providing clean drinking water to the uranium-hit villages to save the lives of people from deadly diseases.