Poisoning in West Bengal : Treatment Plant
FATE OF THREE CRORE
RUPEE ARSENIC REMOVAL PLANTS IN MURSHIDABAD
and Problems Associated with It
The treatment plants installed are of Pal Trockner but the hand tube-wells
with which these are assembled are either of villagers or from Gram Panchayet.
It has been noticed that this combination in many cases are not matching
properly and caused problems. These problems are:
1. Washers are frequently damaged. The packing used in the tubewells
do not work properly either. The valve fitted to the mouth of the tubewells,
which ensures arsenic-free water when closed, and water with arsenic
for purposes other than drinking when open, is jammed in many cases due
to mechanical defect. Thus villagers are forced to use costly arsenic-contamination
free water for their house hold purposes.
2. Mechanical defects cause the handle of the tubewells to spring up
suddenly when depressed. In Ghoramara Gram Panchayat, the Harurpara plant
has given 2 stitches on the forehead of Safura Bibi. Amina Bibi too has
a cracked forehead.
3. Pal- Trockener has appointed some mechanics to maintain the plants.
Villagers report that these mechanics come irregularly. 80% of the treatment
plants in Domkol become inoperative periodically. Only 20% of the plants
are problem-free after installation. The plant at Bhanwarlal Crossing
under Azimgunge Gram Panchayat has been inoperative so frequently that
villagers have removed it to the mosque nearby. (21.5.2001).
4. In front of Comrade Jalil Mandal's house in Aminabad village under
Juginda Gram Panchayat there is a plant. Sahidul Biswas, a local resident
says, "The plant has been installed some 2 months ago. No mechanic
has attended to it since then." Under the same Panchayat, in Madhupur
village, there is another plant. The pipe of the hand tubewell leaks.
Villagers some how managed it with a bicycle pipe. The mechanic, when
informed, said he did not have a proper pipe to replace the leaking one.
5. Malek Mandal of Chanderpara under Raipur Gram Panchayat says that
their plant was installed around 2 months ago, and has already broken
down 10-12 times. Villagers do patchwork repairs, as the mechanic, even
when informed, does not come regularly. In addition, Malek Mandal reported,
if the mechanic makes one visit, he makes the villagers certify to his
having made three such visits, as his salary depends on the number of
visits certified by the villagers. The plant in central Garibpur village
of Garibpur Gram Panchayat was set up 3 months ago and broke down within
10 days. No mechanic could repair it (26-5-2001).
6. The plant in front of Abdul Khalek's house in Mominpur village of
Ghoramara Gram Panchayat has a broken pipe which connects hand tube-well
with treatment plant, and no mechanic has come to repair it up to 29-5-2001.
7. If not periodically cleaned, the plants yield yellow water and villagers
do not use it. Out of 49-treatment plant installed this is something
true of all except 8-10 of the plants.
8. As the villagers do not have to pay for the water obtained from these
plants, they sometimes use it for bathing, washing clothes, and for providing
water for cattle. If some villagers object, they are told, "This
is Government water, not someone's private property."
A report on
the arsenic content in the tubewells linked to arsenic-removal plants
in Domkal block of Murshidabad district.
One expects plants to be attached
to those tubewells, the water from
which contains arsenic well above the highest tolerable limit, and
which villagers use to obtain drinking water from. One also expects
to be set up in villages where many are affected by arsenic-related
In Domkal block, out of 49 plants
installed we found 34 plants operational (not continuous) in the last
4 months. We have collected
from these 34 plants both before and after purification and have
analyzed both arsenic and iron.
the panchayats and the location in Domkal block where the plants have
been set up. It also specifies the arsenic level in the tubewells both
before and after passing through the arsenic removal plants.