Ranchi, July 4: People in five districts that are faced with arsenic and fluoride content will now be able to gulp down glasses of pure water for free, thanks to the first-ever mobile treatment plants set to be launched by the state government.
As part of a project of the state drinking water and sanitation department, the truck-mounted treatment plants having a capacity to process and filter 1,000 litres (about 5,000 glasses) of water per hour will quench the thirst of people in Deoghar, Dumka, Sahebganj, Palamau and Ranchi.
The mini-water treatment plants will be carried in Tata 407 vehicles.
“We have tied up with Hyderabad-based Smaat Aqua for the project. The mobile treatment plants will draw water from conventional sources. To start with, the units will be made available in five districts,” engineer in chief of drinking water and sanitation department Shardendu Narayan told The Telegraph.
While the districts under Santhal Pargana (Deoghar, Dumka and Sahebganj) are crippled with high arsenic content, in Palamau contamination is caused by the presence of fluoride. In some pockets of Palamau, fluoride presence has led to deformity in bones of villagers. Ranchi and its fringe areas witness high levels of iron in the groundwater.
Narayan said the mobile treatment plants would have the capacity to remove all contaminants, including heavy metals. The vehicles will be stationed in public places such as grounds and venues of rural/urban fairs and markets (haats) to ensure availability of safe drinking water to the maximum possible beneficiaries. Smaat Aqua will run the services for six months, following which educated and unemployed youths will be trained to continue the project.
Sources said each mobile water treatment plant and Tata 407 would together cost around Rs 27 lakh.
The project will also be of immense use in flood-prone areas, where people do not get clean drinking water because of various contaminants. The plant will purify water from easily available water sources like ponds and river. If the project proves sustainable, the department may opt for purchasing more mobile water treatment units in future.
Narayan said they were in the process of issuing orders for the treatment plants, which are likely to reach the state this month.
The department is also planning to ensure availability of safe drinking water to visitors who throng tourist hotspots in large numbers. “We want to install water units in places of tourism importance, religious places and public conveniences,” added Narayan.