Fluoride Action Network

Panchayat to run water treatment plant in Munger

Source: The Times of India | August 29th, 2015
Location: India

Patna: Khaira village in Munger district suffers from the highest fluoride content in water in the region. A study conducted between October 2012 and April 2013 revealed that water from 213 of the 272 handpumps in the village had fluoride content beyond the permissible limit.

To tackle the problem, Bihar Technical Assistance and Support Team (BTAST) set up a water treatment plant for poorest of the poor families in the village recently. It will be the first community-driven water treatment plant in the state, said Prabhakar Sinha, BTAST’s water and sanitation director. The local panchayat will run the plant with the support of a local agency on behalf of the BTAST.

The villagers will have to pay Rs 2-3 for 20 litres of water. BTAST has employed caretakers and purchased jars for making supplies. The caretakers will distribute water and collect revenue from every house. The functioning of a government water treatment plant in the village is highly erratic.

Sinha said the community-driven plant would cater to about 40% of the 700 odd households at Khaira. Incidentally, BTAST is an initiative of Bihar government supported by UK-based DFID to implement the Sector Wide Approach to Strengthen Health (SWASTH) in Bihar.

This plant also assumes importance as a dental survey conducted on 143 children in the age group of 8-16 years of three schools in the village revealed over 55% children were affected by fluorosis of severe to moderate degree. “This was a pilot project. We have already handed it over to the local panchayat. So far as the plant’s annual maintenance is concerned, we will be taking care of it till December 2016,” Sinha added.