Poor families in Bara drinking unsafe waterThe majority of the impoverished families living in Harpur village, Pachrauta Municipality-1 of Bara district remain without access to safe drinking water. They are compelled to drink groundwater with arsenic content—a poisonous metal in water.
The majority of the impoverished families living in Harpur village, Pachrauta Municipality-1 of Bara district remain without access to safe drinking water. They are compelled to drink groundwater with arsenic content—a poisonous metal in water.
Around 200 residents of Musahar settlement in Harpur village rely on four tube wells. “We have been compelled to drink arsenic contaminated water from the tube wells,” said Panchu Majhi, 65, a local, adding that they have been requesting the municipal office to instal new tube wells for safe drinking water. “The authority concerned has not paid any heed to our problems.”
Mayor of Pachrauta Municipality Ramesh Yadav, however, said it is the ward chairman’s responsibility to instal tube wells in the settlement.
Musahar, Paswan, Dom and Chamar, among other Dalit communities, have no access to basic drinking water facility in the district.
According to Udaya Nepal, chief at Kalaiya Red Cross, many residents of the Dalit settlements have been suffering from various diseases caused by arsenic. “In Kailali, at least 100 people were found suffering from diseases related to arsenic poisoning a decade ago,” said Nepal, adding that contaminated water led to the outbreak of various communicable diseases, including diarrhoea and dysentery.
Health workers said that skin diseases, deafness, blindness, cancer, heart diseases and diabetes are linked with exposure to arsenic-contaminated water. People living in Laxmipur Kotwali, Kachorwa, Pirpati and Madhuri, among other areas of the district, are also compelled to drink arsenic contaminated water from tube wells. They have installed 25 to 50 feet tube wells near their houses without conducting tests for arsenic in drinking water.
The data of the District Drinking Water and Sanitation Division Office showed that 86 percent of people are drinking water from the tube wells for the last ten years. Gopilal Bhagat, engineer at the division office, said tests for arsenic in drinking water is rarely conducted. “The budget of construction of tube wells and their standard tests is being sent to local units for the last few years. However, the local units have been using sub-standard pipes and other materials while installing tube wells. How can we ensure safe drinking water to the public this way?” said Bhagat.
Water tanks at Bariyapur, Ganjabhawanipur, Prasauni, Jitpur, Simraunhgadh, Kakadi, Pheta and Kocharwa including other areas are not being used due to lack of budget. “There’s no budget in the division offices to supply drinking water from water tanks to the residents,” said Bhagat.