1.8 lakh people forced to drink unsafe water in Odisha: CAG
The Comptroller and Auditor General of India said 1.80 lakh people were forced to consume unsafe water supplied under 73 rural schemes due to the absence of a facility to test its quality in Odisha.
According to CAG report on General and Social sector, a monitoring and investigation unit should be set up at the State headquarters for monitoring the quality of water. “All the water supply sources should be tested at least twice a year for bacteriological contamination and once a year for chemical contamination. Scrutiny of records found that such unit was not set up.
“Due to the absence of regular monitoring and testing of water quality, 1.80 lakh people were consuming unsafe water from 73 RPWS schemes,” it says.
“Executive engineer of Rural Water Supply and Sanitation, Bhawanipatna Division conducted water quality testing of 137 schemes which were not done since their commissioning. The test revealed that water under six schemes contained excess fluoride beyond permissible limit (1.5 mg per litre), which ranged between 1.58 mg/ltr and 1.72 mg/ ltr,” the report says.
It maintains that these schemes were commissioned during 2007-13 involving an expenditure of Rs. 2.12 crore and allowed 0.15 lakh rural population to use water without ensuring the prescribed safety norm.
Similarly, water supplied under 67 schemes had iron content ranging from 1.18 mg/ ltr to 6.5 mg/ ltr, which was beyond the permissible limit of 1.0 mg/ ltr as per Bureau of Indian Standard. These schemes were commissioned between 1993-94 and 2012-13 with an expenditure of Rs. 17.66 crore to provide safe drinking water to 1.65 lakh rural population.
Though the water of these projects did not conform to the prescribed standard, they were not declared as defunct and no alternative measures were taken to provide safe source, CAG says.
The agency also detects iron content to tune of 3 mg/ltr at Keredi in Kandhamal district.