Following a report in HT on Tuesday about people in Jharkhand’s Garhwa district reeling under the impact of fluorosis, union rural development minister Jairam Ramesh has asked chief minister Arjun Munda to intervene immediately.
“I was most disturbed to read the Hindustan Times report and request for your immediate intervention in the matter,” Ramesh said in a letter to Munda.
Ramesh said he had asked the secretary, ministry of drinking water and sanitation, Navin Kumar, to be in touch with his counterpart in Jharkhand regarding the issue.The HT report had highlighted how high fluoride level in underground water was maiming and killing people in Garhwa district, around 220 km northwest of state capital Ranchi, and how government officials were cagey about the problem.
Calls to Munda went unanswered.
Deputy chief minister Hemant Soren expressed concern over the problem and said mobile water treatment vans would sanitise water in affected villages until alternative arrangements were made.
“I have come across a report on fluoride and arsenic water related problems in Garhwa. There are also some areas in Pakur and Sahebganj districts where arsenic problems exist. We are taking initiatives to address the problems,” said Soren.
He said the drinking water and sanitation department had taken up deep boring projects to help people get clean water. “The department has plans to arrange surface water by constructing small reservoirs and check dams.” Soren added every village would have water and cleanliness committees.
He said the state government was also planning to ensure piped drinking water supply to the affected villages.
Soren announced the state would appoint rural health workers in each village to spread awareness about water conservation and sanitation.