The tall claims of the state government of providing water purified at reverse osmosis (RO) plants in urban and rural areas are apparently falling apart after a large number of samples collected from government and private schools in Baghapurana, Nihal Singh Wala, Moga and Dharamkot sub-divisions in the district have failed second time in a row.
However, instead of taking remedial steps the health department has limited its role to informing the education department that it must take corrective measures and the latter passing the buck to the schools concerned by writing to them.
Amid this exchange of letters the situation has not changed at the ground level and schoolchildren continue to drink water from hand pumps, containing many heavy metals besides having high fluoride contents.
Some time back, the health department had collected 132 water samples from government schools and private institutions in Moga and 50 samples were found unfit for human consumption. That time the department had suggested installing RO plants in these schools. But the situation did not change.
Now, the department had collected 132 samples from government schools and private institutions and 40 of these were found unfit for human consumption.
A total of 361 samples were collected from various water sources, including 132 in schools. Of these, 150 samples had high fluoride content as well as the presence of other heavy metals. Last year, too, water samples from seven private schools out of 26 had failed the test.
According to the health department’s report, 361 samples of water were collected from areas of the Moga region in 2013 and 156 of these failed. Similarly, 397 samples were taken in 2012 and 122 of them failed.
Dr Inderveer Singh Gill, senior doctor at the Dr Mathura Dass Civil Hospital, Moga, said the high content of fluoride in drinking water is the main reason behind problems of bones, joints and teeth and even early graying of hair.
Civil surgeon Dr Amarjeet Kaur said the health department has served notice on schools to stop using water for drinking purpose from sources that have failed the test.
Moga DC Arshdeep Singh Thind said the health department has served notice on such schools to ensure that children do not consume water from sources that have failed the test.
“However, I will discuss the matter with the education department to ensure that students do not consume water that has high content of fluoride,” he added.