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Arsenic cleansing claim

Ranchi, Dec. 29: An US-based firm has held out hope for places like Sahebganj in the state where the water is known to be high in arsenic content.

The company — Advanced Technology and Research Inc. based in Marietta — claims that a new filter developed by it can purge water of all its organic, inorganic and metallic contaminants, including arsenic and fluoride.

Speaking to newsmen in Ranchi today, ethno-scientist of the firm Charles Barlow said they had used a prototype of their filter to treat around 5,000 litres of arsenic-laced water and the results had been very encouraging.

Barlow, producing a copy, also claimed that the executive engineer of the drinking water and sanitation department of Sahebganj R.B. Singh had certified their test results.

“Water samples had been collected from a government middle school at Dihari village of Ranchi district around a year ago. We found alarming levels of arsenic in that water. However, our filter managed to clear it all out,” Barlow said.

He added that the device, which he displayed in front of reporters, needed no electricity and was plug-and-play or could be directly connected to the source of water itself.

The cost per head, for a family of six using the filter throughout the year, was estimated to be around 0.43paise per litre only.

Interestingly, the National Metallurgical Laboratory, headquartered in Jamshedpur, had some years ago also claimed to have jointly developed with the Queen’s University, Belfast (UK), an “in-situ treatment technology” for curing arsenic contaminated groundwater.

Later, there were also reports that the Union government had roped in Kemira — a Finland-based water chemistry major — to carrying out a pilot project aimed at solving chronic problems caused by arsenic-laced water in India.

The pilot project was run in seven states of the country, one of which was Jharkhand.

The Advanced Technology and Research filter prototype is the latest offering in the series. “We want to start a pilot project in the state at a cost of around Rs 41.3 crore,” Barlow told reporters.

He added that his company had already approached some government officials and held talks in this regard.