Union Minister for Rural Development Dr. Raghuvansh Prasad Singh has called for ensuring the availability of safe drinking water in rural areas of the country. Addressing a two-day long National Rural Workshop on Water supply and Sanitation in Rural India here today Dr. Singh stressed the importance of development of suitable technologies for addressing drinking water supply, safe and potable drinking water to all habitations of the country, sustainable sanitation options for achieving total sanitation by 2012, well before timelines of the Millennium Development Goal.
Referring to the presence of Arsenic and Fluoride contents in the ground water of Bihar, West Bengal and Assam and Fluoride and Iron contents in Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh as well as salinity of water in the coastal areas of the country the Minister stressed for the training of local villagers in testing the water quality and equipping them with newly developed test kits. In order to ensure the availability of safe drinking water the department of Drinking Water Supply is already running a Quality Servillance Programme under the Bharat Nirman for which a budget of Rs.200 crore has been earmarked to provide test kits in village panchayats and open district level test laboratory and state level Referral laboratories in different states, the minister added. He also informed of the Data Management work done by the Department of Drinking Water Supply in doing the survey of available water sources every year instead of the existing norm of five year.
On Total Sanitation Programme (TSC) the minister informed of the construction of nearly one crore toilets every year and hoped every rural school, aanganwadi centre will have proper toilets by March, 2008. He also called for the recycling of the solid/liquid waste products under solid/liquid waste management in the rural areas so as to into manure that the target will be achieved during the next four years.. Dr. Singh expressed the hope of attaining the millennium development goals by the year 2012 positively.
The workshop has participation from representatives from various Ministries and Departments of Government of India lie Ministry of Rural Development, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Ministry of Science & Technology, CSIR, Central Ground Water Board, Central Water Commission etc. The participants included Senior Officials of 25 State Governments and institutions like the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), National environmental an Engineering Resarch Institute (NEERI) – Nagpur, Indian Institute of Chemical Technology, National Geo Physical Research Institute, Central Glass & Ceramic Research Institute, National Metallurgical Laboratory, Central Salt & Marine Chemicals Research Institute, Industrial Toxicology Research Centre and Institute of Minerals and Materials Technology. Representatives from NGOs and academia like Centre for Science & Environment, SCOPE, Centre for Water Resources Development & Management, Indian Institute of Science, Dr. Poonuraj, Gandhigram Rural Institute, Dindigul-Deemed University and scientists from Indian Institute of Technology-New Delhi/are also participating in the workshop