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HindustanTimes Thu,23 Oct 2014

Potable water still a dream for govt schoolkids

Deepa Sharma Sood, Hindustan Times  Ludhiana, March 30, 2014
First Published: 19:58 IST(30/3/2014) | Last Updated: 10:22 IST(31/3/2014)

Learning no lessons from failed water samples last year, the education department continues to put the health of government schoolchildren at risk.

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Of the 111 samples collected by the health department from various government schools of the district since January, 50 have been found unfit for consumption.

Samples were collected government schools in areas like Machhiwara, Maloud, Sudhar, Pakhowal, Sahnewal, Jawahar Nagar, Hathur, Ambedkar Nagar and Sidhwan Bet.

In 2013, of the 2,208 water samples collected from government schools, 740 had failed the purity test. There are 1,006 primary school and 183 middle schools in the district.

According to a health department official, Coliform Bacteria was found in majority of the failed water samples. The bacteria can lead to gastroenteritis whose symptoms include blood in vomit or stool, a swollen, painful abdomen, high fever, chills, excessive thirst, dry mouth, excessive lethargy, dizziness or lightheadedness.

District epidemiologist Dr Anil Verma said, "It has been observed that water tanks at schools are not cleaned frequently due to which fungus gets collected in tank and makes the water contaminated. The water tanks need to be cleaned frequently."

Ashok Ghai, a teacher at a government school, said, "Talks of installing reverse osmosis (RO) systems at government primary and middle schools have been on for years. But the project has been hanging fire in absence of adequate funds."

He added that it was sad that providing clean drinking water to government schoolchildren was not on the priority of neither the government nor the candidates in fray for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

On the other hand, Ranjit Singh Malhi, district education officer, elementary, said, "The best solution to this problem is to install ROs in schools. Therefore, we had written to the central government for funds for the RO systems. The machines have been already installed in several primary and middle schools of the district, and efforts are on to obtain funds to get them installed in all government schools."

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