GADAG: It’s a Catch-22 situation for people living in Mundargi and adjoining villages in Gadag district: water is scarce, and the available water is unfit for consumption.
According to a report by the K H Patil Krishi Vignan Kendra, flouride content in water here is 4.5 mg/litre; the ISI permissible limit is 1.5 mg/per litre.
Non-governmental organisations with political funding have come to the rescue of the people and are setting up water purifiers and supplying water through automated vending machines at 10 paise per litre.
The K H Patil Foundation and Rural Medical Service Society, Gadag, is spearheading a campaign on the need for pure water in villages and mobilising funds for water purification units - ‘Shuddha Neeru’ outlets - which would source water from borewells and supply it after purifying it.
“There are two divisions in society - those with and without access to pure water. We need to ensure equality at least through drinking water. Politicians should shed their differences and set up such units across the state,” said H K Patil, son of Congress legislator and former minister K H Patil.
Land and borewell digging costs will be borne by the panchayats concerned while the foundation will set up the purification unit and maintain it for the first five years.
Somappa Ganappa Rathod, a resident, exuded hope that with the commissioning of the project, health problems due to water contamination may disappear. “We have been drinking unclean water from wells and ponds. The initiative will improve our health,” he said.
Hiccups in Sight
However, all is not rosy with the programme.
With the “Shuddha Neeru” outlets dependant on borewells, the programme will draw flak from the government if it frames and implements guidelines on tapping groundwater.
The initiative is not the first of its kind, as claimed by Patil.
The Shri Kshethra Dharmasthala Rural Development Project, a charitable trust promoted by Dr D Veerendra Heggade, has done something similar.
It has set up eight such units and plans to install another 50 of its kind soon.
Also, the state government, under the Rural Development and Panchayat Raj department has initiated a similar scheme to provide potable water to 40 villages of the 329 villages in Gadag district.
A villager at Yelavatti gram panchayat remarked: “Politicians are visiting villages only due to the forthcoming elections. Some in their desperation to win elections, are trying to woo us.”