Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has directed both urban and rural development departments to expedite execution of drinking water supply projects in Nuapada district where hundreds of villagers have been crippled by consuming fluoride contaminated drinking water.
Addressing a public meet at Nuapada, about 500 km from here on Tuesday, Mr. Patnaik said he was aware that thousands of people were suffering from fluoride contamination.
Projects aimed at providing drinking water free from fluoride should be completed earliest, he said.
Despite the fact that the problem was recognised a decade ago and piped water supply projects were conceptualised, several projects largely remained non-starter. An estimated investment of Rs.273.87 crore was proposed to be spent on as many as 21 mega water supply projects. Nuapada is the worst affected district with over 600 villagers affected by fluoride contamination.
According to Rural Water Supply Sanitation department, two projects have been completed while six others are at different stages of implementation.
“Fluorosis is rampant in Nuapada and a major threat to public health. Water containing excess fluoride consumed by people has led to crippling disease known as Fluorosis, which is not curable,” said Bikash Kumar Pati, an expert on water sector.