Minister wants to know what Dolara villagers are drinking

May 19, 2012, 07:02 IST | Vinod Kumar Menon

After MID DAY's report revealing many inhabitants of the drought-hit region are forced to consume contaminated water, state tribal development minister asks for comprehensive testing, promises storage tanks, sanitation operation

People of Dolara village may not have to willingly consume polluted water for long. Taking serious cognisance of MiD DAY’s exposé on May 4 (‘Dolara villagers drink water unfit for animals’), state tribal development minister Rajendra Gavit surveyed the documents and BMC laboratory report that revealed one of two water samples collected from the village in Mokhada taluka and sent for testing was indeed inapt for consumption. In a previous article (‘Water may be unfit for human consumption’) on April 27, MiD DAY had raised serious concerns about the quality of water in the area.

Reading the fine print: State tribal development minister Rajendra Gavit has asked the district health officer and his entire team of doctors, to check the water from the tanker and also the source from where it is collected by villagers. Pic/Satyajit Desai

Local authorities’ efforts to rush tankers to areas where there is severe scarcity are actually proving counterproductive, as the quality of water being brought by tankers is usually not always verified. In effect, a lot of it is contaminated and filthy, giving rise to a number of health problems like gastroenteritis on consumption.

Sample this!
Dolara has a total of 300 dwellings, occupied by a population of approximately 1,400 to 1,500. The only potable water sources here at the moment are tankers that empty their contents in two wells — one within the village and the other on the outskirts. Samples were collected from both wells and the same sent to the BMC laboratory at Dadar on April 26 for ‘complete water analysis’ testing. On May 2, the laboratory concluded its analyses and submitted the findings (copy with the newspaper), wherein it pointed out that one of the two samples collected was unfit for human consumption as it contained high amounts of nitrate.

Speaking to MiD DAY, Gavit said, “Now that it has been proved by the BMC laboratory that the water samples were contaminated and unsuitable for human consumption, I have already instructed my office to ensure that two water tanks, 5,000 litre each, be put in Dolara village to start with, and in a few other villages in and around Jawahar, Mokhada and Shahapur talukas, with strict instructions that tankers should not release water into open wells.”

“We are doing everything possible to alleviate the drought situation and do not want any epidemic in the affected areas after people consume unfit water,” the minister said. Gavit has also directed district health officer Dr RV Kadam to deploy his entire team of doctors based in rural primary health centres located in the above talukas, to check the trichloride level of water from the tanker and also the source from where it is collected by villagers.”

“Contaminated water with high level of nitrate, if consumed, will lead to renal and lung problems. Everything possible will be done to ensure that even the wells are sanitised before water is poured into them,” Dr Kadam told MiD DAY.

‘It’s stuck’
Meanwhile, Rajendra Gavit said two years ago the tribal development department had paid Rs 1.53 crore to Maharashtra Engineering Research Institute (MERI), Nashik, which falls under the irrigation department, for obtaining no-objection certificate (NOC) towards construction of a dam a few kilometres from Dolara village. But for two years the file did not move, the minister complained. Gavit added that he has already managed to obtain sanctions for funds running into over Rs 100 crore for various water supply schemes, like Khardi and Kasara water supply schemes. Also, the cement laying of water pipeline for Kelva-Mahim, connecting 26 villages has got a sanctioning of Rs 45 crore from the state government. Work on these projects will commence soon, and when over, will likely take care of all water problems in tribal regions of the state. 

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