UP assmebly blames Bangladesh for arsenic in ground water

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Lucknow, Feb 25 (UNI) Sharing concern for the presence of arsenic in groundwater in the state, particularly in the Ganga river basin, and putting the blame for it on Bangladesh, Uttar Pradesh assmebly Speaker Sukhdev Rajbhar today directed the state government to give written statement on the same.

Raising the issue through an adjournment motion in the House, Congress legislature party leader Pramod Tiwari and BJP member Dr Radha Mohan Das Agarwal said if nothing was done immediately large number of peole would be affected with diseases.

When the treasury bench could not give an approriate reply to the problem, the Speaker directed the government to give a written statement on the issue.

Mr Tiwari blamed Bangladesh for the contamination of the groundwater with arsenic and said people residing in the Ganga river basin and using underground water for drinking purpose have become prone to variopus diseases like cancer.

''Arsenic enters India from Bangladesh through West Bengal and after Bihar it reaches UP'', he claimed.

On the other hand Dr Agarwal said as per the state government's report in 2006, only 27 district6s were found affected with arsenic.

However, this number has gone up to 51 in 2007. He also claimed that the quantity of arsenic particles crossed the permissable limit of 0.1 milligram per litre in Eastern part of the state.

Dr Agarwal also demanded that the government should supply drinking water through pipelines in the rural areas of the arsenic-affected districts.

The first stage of arsenicosis (arsenic poisoning)can be seen with the skin of the palms and feets becoming rough, dry and thick (keratosis), while few people also complain of breathlessness.

Earlier, in India, the problem had been recognised only in West Bengal and one district of Bihar. But arsenic is no longer restricted to these areas and has now spread upto UP.

The permissible limit of arsenic in drinking water as given in the World Health Organization (WHO) guideline and followed by Bureau of Indian Standard (BIS) is 0.01 milligramme per litre (10 ppb).

Water samples tested in the arsenic-affected villages of Ballia district and surrounding regions had arsenic levels ranging from 47 to 129 ppb, nearly five to 13 times the permissible limit. Even the hair samples of the residents were found containing arsenic in very high concentrations of 2,480-6,310 ppb, as against 80-250 ppb in normal healthy hair.

UNI MB/SB AKJ KN1609

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