The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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German offer in arsenic war

The German Development Co-operation will lend its weight to the fight against arsenic contamination in the state.

Hinnerk Bartels, senior planning officer, German Technical Assistance Agency, told a seminar on arsenic-free drinking water supply in rural West Bengal on Monday that the Germans have already initiated discussions with the state government and offered support, both in the form of technology and part-financing of the project. The development outfit of the German government has earmarked 1 million Euro for its safe drinking water project in the country.

During the seminar — attended by senior government representatives and NGOs — the German experts discussed the technologies available to remove arsenic contamination from drinking water. Besides, there were separate sessions on the status of the arsenic problem in West Bengal and the role of the NGOs in arsenic removal projects.

“We can offer the latest technology developed by Berlin University, which uses granulated ferric oxide for removal of arsenic from drinking water. This is a tested technology and is affordable,” added Bartels.

According to him, the test-runs in various districts have yielded positive results.

The development agency has decided to kick off with two pilot projects in North 24-Parganas and Murshidabad.

“We have expressed our willingness to pay 10 per cent of the costs of the project which, under the existing guidelines, should come from the beneficiaries,” Bartels added.

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