Fluoride hit villages to get water purification units, says Minister

'Under ATW system, water is supplied for 10 paise a litre'

In order to ensure pure drinking water in rural areas, the State government will install 1,000 water purification units in villages by the end of this financial year, said Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister H K Patil.

Speaking to mediapersons on the sidelines of a programme here on Monday, the minister said the programme will be implemented based on the Any Time Water (ATW) model that has been successfully implemented by two NGOs in Gadag district. The State government had announced in its 2013-14 budget of introducing pure drinking water supply scheme in some of the villages where water contains nitrate, fluoride and arsenic contents.

The programme will be launched in phased manner, where 1,000 purification units will be installed during the first year. According to a survey, as many as 5,000 villages in the State are affected with contaminated water. Providing pure drinking water to rural population is a major challenge ahead, as people from deprived section of the society drink contaminated water in rural areas. The villages for implementing the scheme will be selected on a priority basis, he said.

Further explaining about the programme, he said the units will be set up by gram panchayats, where in Rs 10 lakh would be required to install a unit along with the construction of new building, wherein a unit can be installed at Rs five lakh, if an used building is available in the panchayat limits. Tenders have been floated for setting up the units. Maintenance of the units could be entrusted on the hands of the GPs, non-government organisations or self-help groups, he said.

Under ATW system introduced in Gadag, water is supplied for 10 paise a litre, where as the Minister hoped that under the government scheme, a bottle of purified water can be given to consumers for Re 1.

15-point programme

Briefing about the 15 point programme envisaged by the Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Department, H K Patil, said some of the areas covered under the 15-point programme includes installing pure drinking water units, toilet to every house, roads in rural areas, open-air theatre, opening computer centres in backward community colonies, workshops for skilled labourers etc. The Department intends to rejuvenate 12,000 lakes under the programme.

“There are 18,000 dried lakes in the State, of which 12,000 lakes would be rejuvenated. The work will commence shortly and the work on rejuvenating at least 6,000 lakes will be completed this year,” he assured.

To a query on the issue of pending electricity bills of panchayats state-wide, the Minister said that the RDPR has proposed to form a committee comprising of ESCOM, KPTCL and panchayat raj officials, to assess the due amount. The RDPR does not agree with the statistics on pending bills placed by the  ESCOMs, he said.

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