Title: Bringing the state back in
… Just in the past two weeks of travel, from the dusty villages of Bagepalli in Kolar district, to the grimy streets of municipal Kolkata, I have seen, all over again, just how callous and neglectful the state has become in the provisioning of public services, and how devastating is the impact of that on the most vulnerable.
Kolar, one of the most backward districts of Karnataka, also has the misfortune of having high fluoride content in its groundwater, which remains the primary source of drinking water for people.
All state measures to improve the situation appear to have failed. In one panchayat, a de-fluoridation plant lies abandoned, having worked for only two months. Nobody knows what to do with it. In a government primary school, a rainwater harvesting system is similarly broken.
In one particularly bizarre instance, the government has handed out rather neat looking fluoride filters, but with no instruction on how to replace the activated alumina that filters the fluoride. With the result that the water, which we tested, now has even more fluoride concentration than before…