Arsenic Poisoning in West Bengal : Murshidabad Report

FOLLOW-UP STUDY OF ARSENIC TREATMENT PLANTS IN MURSHIDABAD

During our recent field survey in Murshidabad (16-18 March 2003), we further noticed that many treatment plants (more than 70%) are not functioning. A few typical examples with photographs and villager’s opinion are given below:

(1) In village Harurpara [Gram Panchayet: Ghoramara, Block: Domkal, District: Murshidabad] there are three treatment plants and villagers are not using any of them. Details are given below:

(A)
Name of the Treatment plant = Pal Trockner.
Arsenic concentration in raw water: 448 microgram per litre
Arsenic concentration in filtered water: 368 microgram per litre

Villager’s comment:
Anis Molla (Photograph-1), a local resident states that the water coming out from the plant is yellow-red. Servicing is being done once in 2-3 months. They are not using water from the treatment plant.

(B)
2nd treatment plant (Name of the Treatment plant = Pal Trockner) in village Harurpara, Gram Panchayet: Ghoramara, Block: Domkal, District: Murshidabad, (Photograph-2)

Villager’s comment:
“ We are not using the plant as water turns red”, said Rangila Bibi. She further said, “The handle of the tubewell is very hard and the handle often springs up and injures people”. Many injured their foreheads.

(C)
3rd treatment plant (Name of the Treatment plant = Pal Trockner) in Village: Harurpara Hospital More, GP: Ghoramara, Block: Domkal, Dist: Murshidabad. Villagers are not using the treated water (Photograph-3).

Villager’s comment :
Safat Biswas, a villager says that the water is clear when collected but with times the redness of water increases. For this reason villagers are not using water from this plant.

In this area, there are many treatment plants installed. Instead of using these treatment plants villagers are still using water from the tubewell of the nearby Mosque.

(2) Village: Kushaberia, GP: Juranpur, Block: Domkal, Dist: Murshidabad. The plant (Name of the Treatment plant = Pal Trockner) came 3 months before and still lying on the street (Photograph-4).

Villager’s comment:
The Gram Panchayet Prodhan Mr. Kuddus said, “In all surrounding villages treatment plants are not working so we are not interested to install the plant.”


(3) Village:Chakchaitan, GP: Sagarpara, Block: Jalangi, Dist: Murshidabad.

Villager’s comment:
Pratima Mandal and Bishakha Debnath (Photograph-5) say that water coming out from the plant (Pal Trockner) is reddish. Villagers are not using the treated water. Servicing is being done once within 2-3 months. Villagers are not happy with this plant.


(4) Village: Madhupur, GP: Juginda, Block: Domkal, Dist: Murshidabad (Photograph-6). When we went to that village we found someone is drying clothes on the treatment plant (Pal Trockner).

Villager’s comment:
Nur Box says that after installing the plant villagers were using the water from this plant. Only they could use it for few days. The plant is out of order for last 6 months.

This is the picture of more than 70% installed arsenic treatment plants in arsenic affected districts of West Bengal. We believe :

“In village predominant India and Bangladesh even a highly successful technology may not succeed in rural areas unless there is a honest will of the politicians, it fits the rural circumstances and is well accepted by the rural mass. Development of such technology is only possible when a combination is made between bureaucrats, technocrats and villagers with proper village level participation.

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