GOLAKGANJ, April 17 � The Public Health Engineering (PHE) Department in recent laboratory tests carried out on water samples in Dhubri villages has found the presence of arsenic, iron and fluoride beyond permissible levels in drinking water.
The villagers have no choice but to drink the contaminated water as most of the PHE-run drinking water projects have been lying defunct for quite a long time. A source said that water sample tests were carried out in 15 revenue villages under eight gaon panchayats in the district in 2014-15.
�Though the permissible level of arsenic is 0.05 parts per million (PPM), in Adabari village Part-I and II, its level was at 0.09. Similarly, in Bhasanir Char and Aironjongla villages, the level of arsenic was found to be higher,� a source added.The source said drinking water also found to be contaminated with fluoride and iron in all the villages under Halakura gaon panchayat, namely Bisondoi, Golakganj, Durahati, Dharmasala, Binnachora, Howrarpar, Jhagrarpar and Kacharihat villages.
A laboratory technician of Dhubri PHE Division said that altogether 552 water samples had so far been tested between 2014 and 2015. The general secretary of Chilarai Krishi Bikash Samiti, Mohammedul Haque, said consumption of water contaminated by arsenic has led to gastrointestinal disorders, lower limb paralysis and cancer of liver and skin.
�There are so many areas in Dhubri district with high arsenic and fluoride-contaminated water sources which poses a serious threat to human health, but unfortunately the Dhubri divisional PHE has neither taken any step to stop people from drinking arsenic and fluoride-contaminated water nor adopted any measure to decontaminate it,� Haque said. He said the only step that the PHE Department had taken was sealing contaminated water sources. But there should be mass awareness campaigns regarding the danger from drinking this type of contaminated water.
�There should be some measures to purify contaminated water sources and to provide safe drinking water to the poor villagers. That is why we demand awareness campaigns and steps to decontaminate the water,� Haque said.