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QUESTION NO. 339 : Arsenic contamination in drinking water



Arsenic contamination in drinking water

Dr. Vinay P. Sahasrabuddhe

Will the Minister of DRINKING WATER AND SANITATION be pleased to state :-

a) the steps taken by Government to resolve the problem of drinking water in cities/towns/areas where water is found to be contaminated with arsenic;

(b) the policy decisions taken by Government for its eradication during the year 2014-2016 and the steps taken by Government for creating country-wide awareness about the same;

(c) the details of the States/Union Territories/districts/towns/cities/areas that are in the grip of arsenic contamination; and

(d) the details thereof?




(a) & (b) Drinking water supply is a state subject. This Ministry supplements the efforts of the States by providing technical and financial assistance through the centrally sponsored National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP) for improving the coverage of clean drinking water to rural population.

As per the information received from the Ministry of Urban Development, urban water supply is a State subject and it is the responsibility of the State Governments/Urban Local bodies etc to plan, design, execute and operate schemes for providing safe drinking water in the urban areas of the country. Ministry of Urban Development facilitates in framing broad policies, advisories and guidelines on water supply systems and provides Additional Central Assistance under various programmes taken up from time to time.

In respect of rural areas, up to 67% fund allocated to the states under NRDWP can be utilized for coverage of water quality affected habitations and for tackling water quality problems. Further, 5% of the NRDWP funds are earmarked for Water Quality and allocated to those states with habitations affected by excess chemical contamination and with high priority districts affected by Japanese Encephalitis/Acute Encephalitis

Syndrome. In addition to this, 3% NRDWP fund is also provided for water quality monitoring and surveillance, which inter alia include taking up works relating to setting up of new / up-gradation of districts/sub district water quality testing laboratories, providing chemicals and consumables to laboratories, providing field test kits/refills to Gram Panchayats etc. Further, up to 10% of NRDWP funds allocated to states could be utilized for sustainability of drinking water sources through artificial recharge of ground water and other methods, which inter alia may also dilute the level of contamination in aquifers.

States have been asked to focus for piped water supply schemes from safe and perennial surface water source for sustainability of the schemes in water quality affected habitations. As immediate measures, states have been provided 100% funds from NITI Aayog to mitigate arsenic and fluoride contamination through community water purification plants / last mile connectivity for which execution has started in 2016-17.

In addition to this, the Ministry has formulated a National Water Quality Sub-Mission for focus funding to schemes meant for mitigating arsenic and fluoride contamination on cost sharing basis between centre and state. Under this mission, the goal is to provide safe drinking water to arsenic and fluoride affected habitations from sustainable water sources.

5% of NRDWP funds on a 60:40 sharing pattern (Central: State) are used for different support activities including information, communication and education activities by the State Governments.

(c)& (d) As regards urban areas, as reported by Ministry of Urban Development, State and cities are responsible to provide water supply as per IS: 10500:2012 under Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) since 2015 for taking up the water supply projects in the urban areas of the country. Under the Mission it is aimed to achieve 100% coverage with water supply in all the 500 mission cities across the country.

As regards rural areas of the country, as reported by the States into the Integrated Management Information System (IMIS) of the Ministry as on 02 Feb, 2017, the areas of 66 districts of 8 states are in the grip of Arsenic Contamination. Details are attached as Annexure-1.

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