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Panchayat to run water treatment plant in Bihar village

Aug 31, 2015

The community owned water treatment plant will provide clean drinking water to people at the nominal rates.

Patna/Munger: The Panchayat in Khaira, a small village of Bihar, has launched a community owned Reverse Osmosis (RO) Water Purification Plant for providing clean water to the villagers.

Khaira is located in Kharagpur Block of Munger, one of the two districts in Bihar that are enlisted as both arsenic and fluoride contaminated.

According to a study conducted between October 2012 and April 2013, 213 of the 272 hand pumps in the village reported fluoride content beyond the permissible limit.

The Bihar Technical Assistance Support Team (BTAST) has facilitated and supported commissioning of the water treatment plant. BTAST is an initiative of Bihar Government supported by DFID-UK to implement the Sector Wide Approach to Strengthen Health (SWASTH) in Bihar.

The Khaira water treatment plant has been handed over to the local panchayat but BTAST will look after the plant's annual maintenance for more than a year till December 2016.

Prabhakar Sinha, Water and Sanitation Director of BTAST said that village panchayat will run the plant with the support of a local agency on behalf of the BTAST.

Sinha added that the community-driven plant would provide water supply to about 40 per cent of the 700 households in the village. “The water treatment plant will cater to the poorest of the poor families in the village. It will be the first community-driven water treatment plant in the state,” he said.

The importance of the plant can be seen through the prism of a dental survey that was conducted on 143 children in the age group of 8 – 16 years of three schools in the village.

According to the survey, out of a total of 143 children, over 28 (20%) were affected by mild fluorosis, 28 (20%) by moderate fluorosis and 21 (15%) by severe fluorosis. Apart from these figures, 21 (15%) of those surveyed were categorised as suspected cases, who in later years may develop clear symptoms of dental fluorosis.

The water plant will provide water to villagers at the rate of Rs 2-3 for 20 litres of water. BTAST has employed caretakers and purchased containers for ensuring proper water supplies. The caretakers will distribute water and collect revenue from the users.

The importance of Khaira water treatment plant is due to the fact that this, if successful, it has the potential of being replicated in other needy areas of Bihar.

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