Borewells with high arsenic content to be sealed in Raichur, Yadgir

The State government will seal all drinking water borewells having excess content of arsenic in Raichur and Yadgir districts, Rural Development and Panchayat Raj (RD&PR) Minister H K Patil has said.

Around 100 borewells in 63 villages were found to have high levels of arsenic in the two districts. Steps had already been taken to seal them. Besides, alternative arrangements for supplying water to the people were being made, Patil told reporters here on Thursday.

The officials concerned had been directed to drill new borewells in place of the old ones. But If water in the new borewells also has excess arsenic content, people would be supplied water by tankers.

Patil said that he visited some of the affected villages recently. “Arsenic is a deadly poison which causes diseases like cancer. Up to 0.01 per cent arsenic content is acceptable and up to 0.05 per cent permissible. But beyond that, it becomes dangerous,” the minister explained, adding that the content of arsenic in the villages was excess. “I felt we should do something urgently to protect the people. Hence, the decision to seal the borewells,” he stated.

Expert panel

In addition, the RD&PR has set up a four-member expert committee headed by well-known social worker Dr H Sudarshan to take stock of the situation in the affected areas and make appropriate recommendations on steps to be taken to the government.

Irrigation expert Arun Patil, geologist R H Sahukar and the Managing Director of Karnataka Rural Infrastructure Development Corporation, H G Shivananada Murthy, are members of the committee. It will visit the affected places, inspect steps taken to seal the borewells and the alternative arrangements made to supply water, and submit a report within 10 days, Patil said.

The government will instal clean drinking water supply units in 5,825 villages where ground water is contaminated by excess fluoride content. Around 1,000 villages will be covered in the current financial year, he added.

Hoisting tricolour

The government has decided to make it mandatory the hoisting of national tricolour every day at all Zilla Panchayat, Taluk Panchayat and Gram Panchayat offices from August 15 in the State.

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