SANGRUR, February 7: Alleging that the state government was at best biased and discriminatory and at worst quite indifferent in handling the situation arising out of arsenic and fluorine contamination in water in various villages in Sangrur and Patiala districts, the Congress has brought the matter to the notice of the Union Health Ministry and the Union Environment Ministry.
In separate letters to the union Health Minister Mr Ghulam Nabi Azad and the union Environment Minister Mr Jairam Ramesh, seeking their attention and intervention, senior party leader and former Sangrur legislator Arvind Khanna revealed that water in most of the villages falling along river Ghaghar had been found to be contaminated with arsenic and fluorine. Its impact has been quite dangerous on the health of people who have been suffering from various diseases particularly the cancer and osteoporosis.
Arvind Khanna, who has been running a free community health programme, ‘Health at Your Doorsteps’, through his Umeed Foundation, disclosed that during the health checkups the doctors had found quite a disturbing trend and in case urgent measures were not taken the situation will go out of control.
Citing few examples he said, in several villages almost every family had one or more members suffering from the diseases which are believed to be directly the outcome of the arsenic and fluorine contamination in the water. He said, the health department of the state government had also admitted to the contamination but had not done anything about it.
Seeking the central government’s intervention, he said, the situation was quite explosive as more and more people were falling prey to deadly diseases. There have been several deaths reported in the area. He said, while the problem prevailing in other areas has been much publicised, Sangrur, particularly some of its remote areas remain unattended and uncared by the government.
He revealed that setting up of reverse osmosis (RO) water system in these areas could at least provide better drinking water to the people. However, the Akali-BJP government has remained content with providing the RO system mostly in the Bathinda district for the obvious reasons