With thousands of habitations being affected by water contamination, Health Minister J P Nadda today said this was leading to complications and even death and stressed the need for intensive co-ordination with various entities to ensure safe drinking water.
“14,132 habitations are affected by contamination of fluoride and 1,991 habitations are affected by arsenic,” Nadda said in Lok Sabha during Question Hour, citing information provided by the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation.
Contaminated drinking water can cause various diseases such as cholera, typhoid and acute encephalitis syndrome.
Intake of fluoride and arsenic contaminated drinking water leads to various clinical complications and at times even cause death, the Minister said.
While in some cases contamination was due to natural causes, the rest of them were man-made, he said, adding that awareness programmes were being carried out on the effects of water contamination.
Nadda said “more intensive co-ordination is required” to tackle contamination of drinking water between the Ministries of Health and Drinking Water and Sanitation to ensure safe drinking water.
“We will see that more funds are given for safe drinking water,” Nadda said and added that “provision of safe drinking water is the main strategy to control diseases caused by drinking of contaminated water. Rural water supply is a state subject.”
The Centre supplements the states’ efforts by providing technical and financial assistance under the centrally sponsored National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP).
To a query on water getting contaminated due to water and sewerage lines being nearby, Nadda said his Ministry would co-ordinate with the Urban Development Ministry to address the issue.
The Indian Council of Medical Research has constituted a task force on fluorisis to address issues related to prevention and control strategy and defloration techniques, among others. Fluorosis is caused by over exposure to fluoride, the Minister said.
“The task force has identified certain issues like indigenous indexing for dental fluorosis, skeletal fluorosis and also issues of fluorosis endemicity, prevention and control strategies,” Nadda said.
About five per cent of NRDWP funds are earmarked for states facing problems of chemical contamination in drinking water, Japanese Encephalitis and Acute Encephalitis Syndrome affected high priority states.
Among others, three per cent of NRDWP funds are provided on 100 per cent central assistance basis to states for water quality monitoring and surveillance.
The government also started the National Programme for Prevention and Control of Fluorosis (NPPCF) in the 11th Five Year Plan and so far 111 districts have been covered under it.