Chandigarh, May 19: Stung by allegations that polluted drinking water was causing disease, the government today conceded that most villages have a problem and announced funds to provide potable water to about 10 lakh people living in rural areas.
Public health minister Jasjit Singh Randhawa said of the 12,402 villages in Punjab, 11,849 face scarcity of drinking water. Safe drinking water supply had been provided to 7,847 villages till March this year, he said. The remaining would be covered in a phased manner.
A visit to some villages revealed that those located on the main roads have a relatively good water supply system, but those in the interiors have to make do with underground water.
“The problem lies with the administration concerned. On paper, a village with one water tap, running or dry, is considered to have been covered under the potable water supply scheme.
“That tap may have been installed 20 years ago and may no longer be there. But, on paper, the village has been provided with safe drinking water. There are thousands of such villages in the state. But no one cares,” a health official said.
The move to provide potable water comes close on the heels of the government seeking help from the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research to analyse the spurt in cancer cases in some pockets of Talwandi Sabo in Bhatinda.