New Delhi, Apr 23: Over 3.14 lakh rural habitations do not have enough supply of safe drinking water which is contaminated in over 66,000 more habitations, the government said in Lok Sabha on Thursday.
Emphasising that much more needs to be done to ensure safe drinking water to the rural populace, Union Minister Birender Singh said drinking water supply was less than the prescribed norm of 40 litres per capita day (lpcd) in "3,14,529 rural habitations" as on April 20.
He said in addition to these, there are 66,093 rural habitations where drinking water is "contaminated with either one or more of the chemical contaminants like arsenic, fluoride, nitrate, iron and salinity".
"Such habitations can be categorised as having shortage of drinking water," Singh, the Minister for Drinking Water and Sanitation, said during Question Hour.
There are more than 16.96 lakh rural habitations and out of them, 13.16 lakh habitations were provided with 40 lpcd of safe drinking water.
The Minister said the number of habitations having access to safe drinking water has increased since the inception of National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP) in 2009-10.
"The coverage of fully covered habitations has increased from 10,89,411 habitations on April 1, 2009 to 13,16,042 habitations and quality affected habitations have reduced from 1,79,999 habitations to 66,093 habitations (as on April 20, 2015)," he said.
To a query on whether water levels in water bodies in the rural areas have declined, Singh said his Ministry does not maintain such data.
"The issue concerns the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation and as reported by them, there is no official information on reduction in water level of water bodies," he noted.