Flood-hit Bihar Residents Complains of Contaminated Water Supply

by VR Sreeraman on Aug 28 2007 1:43 PM

Residents of flood-hit Bihar have complained about receiving contaminated water supply in their homes.

"The colour of the water is green. We are facing a lot of problems after floods. Several people in our locality have complained ofn upset stomachs and ailments like diarrhoea and dysentery," said Manju Gautam, a homemaker.

Biotechnology experts have tested the filtered water and found it to be contaminated, despite claims by the civic authorities that the water supply has been chlorinated.

The Department of Biotechnology of Patna's A.N College collected samples from 33 localities and found the presence of bacteria.

Ideally, the presence of bacteria should be around 2.2 mpn (means probable number) in each 100 ml, but it was found to be 5.9 mpn and even 16 mpn at many places.

According to Dr. Chandravati, the department's head, several factors can be responsible for the contamination of piped water.

He said: "There can be leakage in the pipe, presence of dirt particles or at times the water pipe and drainage pipe are near each other. Due to the leakage in the pipes bacteria can enter. This can be a reason for water contamination."

Municipal corporation authorities believe things can improve with the help of the people. Shashi Shekhar Sharma, Secretary with the Department of Public Health Engineering Government of Bihar, said: "Contamination can be due to many reasons; there can be waterlogging, throwing of garbage near pipes. Many people have been drinking boiled and filtered water".

The flood situation in Bihar remains grim, largely due to the substantial discharge from barrages in Nepal. So far, 450 lives have been lost and nearly 20 million in twenty districts have been affected by the natural calamity. Darbhanga district with 84 deaths is the worst hit.

Over 8.67 lakh marooned people have been evacuated to safer places, while 6781 boats have been engaged in relief and rescue operations, official sources said.

The floods have destroyed standing crops worth over Rs 595.81 crore spread across 14.55 lakh hectares of land. Over 2.91 lakh houses and public property have also been destroyed.