No more panicking with Arsenic as Water Purification Plant generates hope

Symptoms of arsenic poisoning were evident in a considerable portion of the population residing in Karimpur area of Nadia district. Black spots, lumps and thickening of the skin, dry palms and heels, numbness of limbs, liver disease and skin cancer etc. caused panic among the local population.

The water from the tube-wells was tested as per the advices of the doctors and it was found that the water is arsenic contaminated with presence of more than 0.01 mg arsenic per litre of water. It was evident that the people of the area suffered from arsenic poisoning. The news spread throughout the area and people were panic-stricken. People started to appeal to the Gram Panchayat for a solution to this teething problem.

As such, the Gram Panchayat started to take initiatives for providing a solution. Accordingly, two water treatment plants were constructed near Abhaypur Primary School and Karimpur Hospital in the financial year 2015-16 from the grants received from Nadia Zilla Parishad. This water treatment plant provides Arsenic, Iron and Bacteria-free safe drinking water. Activities of electricity connection, procurement of water vessels and vehicles to transport water to the households were also completed.

People living in the area and its surroundings can now avail 20 litre of purified water at a cost of rs. 5. The Gram Panchayat is also earning Rs. 6000/- per month from the sales of this purified water. 15 persons have been employed for transporting water to the households. No cases of arsenic poising have been observed in the area after construction of this water treatment plant. People are now free from the fears of arsenic related diseases. Villagers residing in 18 Gram Panchayats of Karimpur -1 and Karimpur -2 Blocks have been benefitted from these two water treatment plants.

Other Gram Sansads of this area are now inspired by the success of this project and are appealing for similar plants in their area. Based on these applications, two similar water treatment plants have been constructed in financial year 2017-18 in Gopalpur Primary School and Ramkrishnapalli Primary School with an expenditure of Rs. 6,73,401/- per project utilizing the Fourteenth Finance Commission Grants for providing safe drinking water to a larger section of the population.

Several Gram Panchayats in vicinity have been inspired by the success of this project and has proposed similar water treatment plant in their Annual Gram Panchayat Development Plan. Karimpur – 1 Gram Panchayat is now considered to be a model Gram Panchayat in tackling arsenic contamination. The Panchayat has also taken up measures like graffiti, discussions in Gram Sansad Sabhas and canvassing through loud speakers to raise the awareness of the people. The Gram Panchayat is committed to ensure annual testing of all tube-wells in the area.

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