DHARMAPURI: Residents of Dharmapuri condemned the municipality and town panchayats for mixing groundwater with the ‘Hogenakkal Integrated Drinking Water and Fluorosis Mitigation project’. They stated that mixing groundwater with filtered water defeats the purpose of the project and urged the Dharmapuri administration to look into the matter.
The Hogenakkal integrated Drinking Water and Fluorosis Mitigation project (HIDWFM) was introduced after high fluoride content was detected in the water of the district and it benefits around 256 grama panchayats and 10 town panchayats. However, the panchayats and municipality are mixing groundwater with filtered water, contaminating it with high fluoride.
M Selvaraj from Nallampalli said, “Despite the existence of the HIDWFM project, the water received by the people is extremely poor. During summer, the region experiences massive water shortage and officials use water from local wells and lakes to supply as drinking water, which in turn causes health issues.”
Another resident of Dharmapuri, M Umashankar said, “Last year the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) had flagged the lapses in the project. However, so far these lapses have not been rectified. Not only is the water supply erratic, but the water provided is also of poor quality. If this is left unchecked there will be a surge in fluorosis. This problem is not with the TWAD who are in charge of HIDWFM. The panchayat and the municipality are mixing groundwater sources with high fluoride with the Panchapalli water scheme and HIDWFM scheme and contaminating the water.”
V Venakeshan from Pennagaram said the tanks where the water from HIDWFM is stored have never been cleaned, and the pipelines leading to many areas are blocked by the accumulated salt. “We urge the panchayats to undertake regular cleaning of the overhead tanks and ensure that all the pipes are replaced,” he said.
Speaking to TNIE, TWAD officials said they are not responsible for the quality of water and cannot comment on the matter. “Our role is to ensure that the water is supplied and the pipelines are maintained,” they said. Despite multiple attempts, DRDA officials were unavailable for comment.