Residents of 300 gram panchayats in the State now have access to safe drinking water. They can get 10 litres of potable water through water dispensing machines by inserting a Re. 1 coin.
The Rural Development and Panchayat Raj (RDPR) Department, which has set up water purification units in these GPs, has plans to extend the project to all GPs in the State. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, who launched the water purification units through video-conferencing in the Vidhana Soudha on Wednesday, appealed to non-governmental organisations and the corporate sectors to join hands with the government to provide safe drinking water to people in rural areas.
He said the plan was to install 1,000 water purification units by the end of the year. While 500 more will be launched by September, the rest will be commissioned by year-end. .
He said depletion of the groundwater table, coupled with the presence of excess fluoride, arsenic and other heavy metals were the main causes of diseases, including polio. This would have an impact on the State’s economic condition.
Stating that each purification unit costs around Rs. 10 lakh, Mr. Siddaramaiah suggested that private companies should take this up under the corporate social responsibility initiative (CSR). He also asked elected representatives to use their annual grants to set up units in their areas and create awareness on water conservation.
In his address, RDPR Minister H.K. Patil said there was a need to set up 6,000 water purification units in the State. One unit will serve nearly 5,000 people, he said.