Ahmedabad: After the official Water and Sanitation Management Organisation (WASMO) portal stated that 7675 habitations suffer from high ground water fluoride levels, the organisation’s chairman called it a “goof-up” and said that less than 400 habitations are affected. The official WASMO portal states that a recent habitation survey found that 7675 habitations suffer from high levels of ground water fluoride, nitrate and groundwater salinity.

Incidentally, Chief Minister Narendra Modi had stated at the India Today Conclave 2013 in the national capital on Saturday, that there are less than 50 villages in Gujarat which face a water fluoride problem. However, claiming that the information on the portal is incorrect, Principal Secretary (Water Supply) and WASMO Chairman Rajiv Kumar Gupta said, “I admit that the information is on our portal, but it is incorrect. There are less than 400 places now which have a water fluoride problem. The figures mentioned on the portal convey the situation 10 years ago, but now I think there are less than 350 habitations with a ground water fluoride problem, since we have now shifted to surface water”.

“It is a grammatical mistake in writing. Instead of using ‘had’, it has been written as ‘has’, which should be corrected,” he said, referring to the “goof up” on the portal listing 7675 habitations, as suffering from high levels of ground water fluoride, nitrate and groundwater salinity in Gujarat. It has been a double whammy for many villages of Kutch and Saurashtra region in Gujarat, facing an acute drinking water problem.

“Out of these 350 odd villages, basically, the problem of ground water fluoride is mainly in villages of Kutch and Saurashtra regions,” he said. There are around 5,588 villages in the Saurashtra region and 392 are yet to be connected to the Narmada pipeline network, as they happen to be in far flung pockets of the district, away from the main Narmada canal.

“The government will connect all villages with surface water resources in four months. So all problems faced by them will be taken care of automatically,” he said. As per WASMO officials, there are 28 villages in Jamnagar and 14 villages in Porbandar district facing a water quality problem, which are still not connected to the Narmada pipeline network.

“We will set up reverse osmosis plants there by April end and that should take care of water problems. Similarly, out of 861 villages in Kutch, around 801 villages have been connected to the Narmada canal, and 60 remaining villages will also gradually get connected,” he said. “By expanding the Narmada canal network, the remaining less than 350 villages will also be covered in three months,” he said.