High coliform content in drinking water: Palemar

'Polluted water from Thumbe dam may cause fatal diseases'

Former minister Krishna J Palemar asserted that excess amount of coliform is found in the drinking water supplied from Thumbe dam.

“The intake of this water may lead to fatal diseases like diarrhoea and can also have a bad impact on bones,” the former minister told reporters here on Tuesday, when he released the photographs and videos of his visit along with BJP leaders recently to the adjoining areas of Thumbe dam where sewage is getting mixed with water.

“The contaminated water may affect the lives of 10 lakh people, especially the 18 places in Bantwal Town Municipal Council limits, which also happens to the constituency of the environment minister. The sewage from drains and waste from the slaughter houses by the Panemangaluru-Bantwal road are directly released into the waters of River Netravati in the adjoining area of the Thumbe dam. The flowing water mixes with the water in the dam and the same is supplied for drinking. However, the Mangaluru City Corporation claims that it has been purifying the water before supply. In this case, purification refers to the addition of excess amount of chlorine to the water,” Palemar said.

He also presented a laboratory report and said that according to the report, the total amount of coliform is 1600 units per 100ml while faecal coliform is 542 units per 100 ml. The standard criterion says that the total coliform per ml should not be more than two units. The excess coliform content cannot be removed even by boiling the water.

MCC Mayor Harinath challenged the laboratory report presented by Palemar, saying it was not trustworthy as the tests were not carried out in a government laboratory. In response, the former minister said that the tests have been done at Mangalore Biotech Laboratory near Pumpwell Circle, Mangaluru, which is certified by the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories, an autonomous body under the department of Science and Technology, Government of India. “Moreover, the sample is collected from 27 places for authentication and the testing process took around three months. The Mayor has also claimed the water to be safe for drinking. Without subjecting the water to tests, how did he come to the conclusion that the water is safe?” Palemar wanted to know.

He further said that during his tenure, Rs 18 crore was released for the sewage treatment plant (STP) project under the ADB scheme, but the next government did not complete the work as the land acquisition was not done.

“No political motives are involved in my allegation on the unscientific purification of drinking water. I am voicing my protest in public welfare,” clarified Palemar.

“Let the concerned conduct the tests by themselves. If they need my help in setting the things right, I am ready to lend my cooperation. But, they are not accepting their mistake in the first place,” he challenged and added that he would fight till the supply of clean water is ensured by the authorities concerned.

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