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Wednesday, Mar 12, 2003

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AP Govt outlines projects for safe drinking water

Our Bureau

HYDERABAD, March 11

THE Andhra Pradesh Government has lined up a series of projects estimated to cost Rs 472 crore aimed at providing safe drinking water in about 940 fluoride-affected habitations spread across the State. These schemes are expected to be completed by March 2004.

The State Minister for Panchayat Raj and Rural Development, Dr N. Janardhan Reddy, in a statement said the Government was committed to provide safe drinking water to all the habitations in the State by the year 2007.

All sources with excessive fluoride content have been marked and villagers informed not to use this water for drinking and cooking purposes, he added.

Further, 156 projects estimated to cost Rs 2,756 crore have been identified and efforts have been initiated to prioritise water supply for 1,332 habitations severely affected due to high fluoride content.

The Government expects these projects will be formulated for coverage of balance 1,434 fluoride-affected habitations. The matter had come up for discussion in the State Assembly wherein members expressed concern for people living in these fluoride-hit areas.

As a part of a series of initiatives to provide clean drinking water to these areas, all individual households will be provided de-fluoridation units supported by subsidy component stretching up to 60 per cent subsidy. Further, supply of household de-fluoridation units with enhanced subsidies at 90 per cent will be provided for SC and STs, and 80 per cent for BPL (below poverty line) families. Others will be extended a 50 per cent subsidy in all fluoride-affected habitations.

Dr Reddy said as per WHO (World Health Organisation) specifications, the desirable limit of fluoride in drinking water is 1 mg per litre and maximum permissible limit if a better alternative is not available is 1.5 mg per litre. However, there are 1332 villages in Ananthapur, Guntur, Kurnool, Krishna, Mahbubnagar, Nalgonda, Rangareddy, Nellore and Prakasham districts having fluoride incidence of more than 3 mg per litre out of 7228 habitations that have fluoride more than 1.5 mg per litre.

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