New Delhi: Many parts of the country are yet to receive drinking water but even those who are fortunate to get access to potable water actually drink water contaminated with dangerous toxic chemicals like Arsenic, Fluoride, Manganese and Copper. This could lead to serious health issues such as crippling skeletal damage, kidney degeneration, cirrhosis of the liver and cardiac arrest.
The shocking data released by the Ministry of Drinking water and Sanitation reveals that around 46 million people in India are forced to drink contaminated water. These people are mostly from the rural parts of the country.
As many as 78,508 rural habitations get water contaminated by chemicals like arsenic, fluoride, iron or nitrate. Pesticides and fertilizers are also the cause behind the contamination of water in the rural areas. This data was released by the Ministry of Drinking water and Sanitation.
Arsenic, one of the most poisonous and dangerous element, contaminates nearly 1,991 habitations or nearly 2.9 million people. Fluoride poisons another 14,132 habitations.
Drinking water that has Arsenic content more than 0.05 milligram per litre is considered dangerous but many areas have the level as high as 0.5 mg/litre.
Globally, an estimated 1.8 billion people are drinking contaminated water.
Of the 23,956 contaminated habitants in the whole country, Rajasthan has most with 7,873 habitants. Punjab and West Bengal follow with 2465 and 2292 contaminated inhabitants respectively. Surprisingly, Uttar Pradesh falls under the category with very low contaminated habitants with just 581. Meghalaya has only one contaminated habitant.
Only 35% of country's population that lives in rural areas has access to potable water within their homes. Nearly 22% of rural population has to travel more than half a kilometer to get potable water.
The Central government has been helping the state governments in providing drinking water through its scheme Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP). The programme focuses on curbing arsenic and fluoride contamination of drinking water.
Uttar Pradesh has been highly successful in providing drinking water to inhabitants. Odisha, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar have also implemented the programme quite well.
Rs 8657.35 crore was allotted under the scheme in the year 2014-15. Rajasthan was the biggest recipient of the fund with Rs 1175.86 crore. Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra closely follow with Rs 914.30 crore and Rs 780.06 crore respectively.