GANDHINAGAR: The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) on Friday said the Gujarat government's claim that there was no chemical contamination of drinking water anywhere in the state was "not correct".
In its report tabled in the state Assembly, the CAG cited laboratory reports and mentioned that over 20,000 out of 1.30 lakh samples, that is 15 per cent, "failed the chemical examination conducted by government laboratories in 2015-16".
The report further stated that a similar trend of contamination was found in tests conducted in subsequent years.
The CAG's performance audit report on 'Rural drinking water supply programme in Gujarat' for the financial year 2017-18 was tabled on Friday, the last day of the state Assembly's Monsoon session.
The CAG noted that presence of certain chemicals in drinking water above prescribed limit causes major diseases.
Arsenic causes cancer, fluoride causes fluorosis, nitrate hampers the blood's capacity to transport oxygen resulting in brain damage, iron causes hemochromatosis.
The CAG further said the Gujarat government in March 2016 told the Centre that "the state was not water quality affected".
However, citing government lab reports, the CAG noted that "out of 6.
29 lakh water samples tested in the state during 2013-18, around 1.
15 lakh samples, that is 18.
30 per cent, were found chemically unfit, having excess content of fluoride, nitrate and TDS".
Overall contamination with regard to nitrate and fluoride as per samples tested during 2013-18 in the state was 11.89 per cent and 4.33 per cent respectively, the report said.
According to the report, Chhotaudepur, Dahod, Banaskantha, Panchmahal and Vadodara had high contamination of nitrate.
While worst affected by fluoride contamination were Dahod, Chhotaudepur, Banaskantha and Kheda, it was stated.
As per the audit, 54 samples were found unfit from 188 samples collected during joint physical verification.
Though the water was contaminated, people were found using it for "drinking and cooking purposes from these sources, as these habitations had no alternate source", the CAG noted.
In a clear rebuttal, the CAG said the state government's claim that "not a single habitation was quality affected was not correct", the report said.