Assam MLAs seek solution to arsenic

Assam legislators on Thursday asked the state government to provide pure drinking water to arsenic and fluoride-affected areas of the state.

By PANKAJ SARMA
  • Published 9.02.18
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Guwahati: Assam legislators on Thursday asked the state government to provide pure drinking water to arsenic and fluoride-affected areas of the state.

BJP MLA from Nalbari, Ashok Sarma expressed concern over reports of groundwater contamination with arsenic and fluoride in his constituency and sought to know from public health engineering minister Rihon Daimari what steps his department was taking to solve the problem. He said detection of arsenic in tubewells had created panic in many parts of Nalbari district.

Daimari, in his reply, said five piped water supply schemes and 114 ring wells had been approved for the affected areas, in Sarma's constituency, a water ATM would be set up at Balitara and an expert committee would be sent to Nalbari to study the problem.

Other MLAs as well as Speaker Hitendra Nath Goswami also expressed concern over the high level of arsenic and fluoride contamination of groundwater sources in different parts of the state.

BJP MLA from Howraghat constituency in Karbi Anglong, Joyram Engleng, said arsenic and fluoride contamination remains a serious problem in the hill district.

AIUDF MLA Abdur Rahim Ajmal said hundreds of children were crippled by fluorosis following consumption of fluoride-contaminated water at Akashiganga in Hojai district and sought compensation and physically challenged status for them.

AGP's Ramendra Narayan Kalita suggested that the government should take up a comprehensive scheme covering all arsenic and fluoride-affected areas for mitigation of the problem.

The PHE department, after testing water samples from 3,25,079 sources in the state last year, found 10,301 sources to be contaminated by arsenic and 1,298 sources by fluoride.

Barpeta, Baksa, Jorhat, Nalbari and Darrang districts are affected by arsenic contamination while Nagaon, Hojai, Udalguri, Karbi Anglong and Dhubri districts are affected by fluoride contamination.

Prolonged arsenic contamination is known to cause cancer and skin diseases besides affecting reproductive health while consumption of water containing excessive fluoride causes dental and skeletal fluorosis. A majority of fluorosis victims are children and the most pronounced symptoms of fluorosis are bent legs and discoloured and brittle teeth.