Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, May 13:
About 993 villages in Odisha’s Nuapada and Kalahandi districts will soon get fluoride free water.
A mega drinking water supply project will be executed by the Rural Development department of the state government for the purpose at an estimated cost of Rs 750 crore with assistance from National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), said official sources.
This will be the second mega project in the country after Tamil Nadu. After finalization of its design, tendering for the project has already started, the sources added.
“Water for the mega drinking water project will be drawn from four sources including Patora dam. Each and every family will be provided with water connection. One overhead tank for supplying water will be constructed in every three-four panchayats. The project is targeted for completion within 36 months,” informed Pradipta Kumar Mohapatra, principal secretary Rural Development department.
NABARD is providing financial assistance for the project and a budgetary provision of Rs 150 crore has been made for the first year, the sources revealed adding that tenders for the project were floated on April 30.
Departmental sources said work on the project will start on completion of tender process within four months. The firm executing the project will be vested with the maintenance of the project for a period of five years, they added.
Since the gestation period of the project is comparatively longer, the department has made interim arrangements for providing safe drinking water in the concerned villages. Out of the 993 villages, 305 villages are currently being supplied with water through pipes while tube wells have been sunk in the remaining 688 villages. National Environment Research Agency is undertaking research in these villages. Wherever fluoride content in the water from tube wells is found to be in excess of the permissible quantity, filters will be installed and alum will be used in them. A four-member committee will be formed in each village to check and supervise installation of filters and addition of alum in them as well as monitor its functioning, departmental sources said.
“The mega drinking water supply project in Nuapada and Kalahandi districts has been targeted for completion within the scheduled period. Arrangements will be made for supply of pure drinking water in places across the state where iron and saline content is detected,” revealed Mohapatra.
Notably, fluoride content in water in Kalahandi district’s Golamunda block and all villages of Nuapada district has led to serious health problems. The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has been issuing strictures to the state government on several occasions. The Commission had issued directives to the state government to take steps to provide pure drinking water in these areas.