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Clay filters promise clean drinking water in villages
- Terafil technology to benefit Chakdoha & Chapri in Ghatshila, pilot project to encourage self-employment
Women of Chakdoha village will no longer have to carry water, thanks to terafil filters (right). Telegraph pictures

Jamshedpur, Dec. 23: Terafil technology will not only ensure clean drinking water in villages but also turn the rural people into entrepreneurs.

Chakdoha and Chapri, two villages of Ghatshila in East Singhbhum district, will play host to the pilot project.

The initiative has been taken by the Rural Development Trust under the Art of Living Foundation, Bengaluru. Terafil water filters have been designed by S.K. Kuntia, the head of design and rural technology department at the Institute of Mineral and Material Technology (IMMT), Bhubaneswar, a wing of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), New Delhi.

“Water-borne diseases are dangerous. Our objective was to help the rural population get clean drinking water with minimum expenditure. The technology is the same as the ceramic filters but it’s made of clay, a raw material which is easily available in every village,” said Kuntia.

The water filter contains a candle, which is made of clay mixed with sawdust and then baked to a certain temperature. The sawdust burns allowing formation of natural micro capillaries, which help in the filtration process. Filtration takes places effectively, with the pores measuring between 0.2 to 0.3 micro metre compared to 2 micro metre in normal filters, which usually get blocked with pathogens.

“The technology is simple and beneficial to the rural population. Besides terafil, villagers can also use earthen pots with the same technology. We want to start the pilot batch in these two villages as the Art of Living Foundation has a base here. But later we would like it to take the technology to other villages of the state,” said Debashish Bhattacharjee, the national expert with United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) and an adviser to the Art of Living Foundation in the project.

The terafil would cost around Rs 350 to Rs 500. The foundation has planned to rope in the corporate sector to help donate the filters as a part of their corporate social responsibility.

The filters would encourage self-employment, too. The foundation would also arrange for resources to train the villagers and help them turn into entrepreneurs.

“This would be of great help in the villages where people don’t even use a muslin cloth to filter the water. Though the terafil technology cannot match up to the RO water purifier systems, it is safe, environment-friendly and involves zero maintenance,” said Bhattacharjee.

The filters are being manufactured and would be distributed across the two villages from March 31 next year. The terafils are already a success in Meghalaya and Orissa.

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