Report on arsenic contamination of groundwater, Uttar Pradesh, 27/07/2020

Report of oversight committee in compliance of order of the National Green Tribunal in O.A. 384/2019 in the matter of Sunita Pandey Vs Union of India & Others.

The matter related to contamination of groundwater due to arsenic and non availability of clean drinking water in Bahraich, Ballia, Balrampur, Bareilly, Basti, Bijnor, Chandauli, Ghazipur, Gonda, Gorakhpur, Lakhimpur Kheri, Meerut, Mirzapur, Moradabad, Rai Bareilly, Sant Kabir Nagar, Shajahanpur, Siddharthnagar, Sant Ravidas Nagar and Unnao and certain other districts in Uttar Pradesh.

There were 707 arsenic affected habitations in Uttar Pradesh. Presently, 164 habitats were there which were not covered by piped water supply Out of which 44 habitations would be completed by December 2020 and 45 habitations would be completed by March 2021 through on-going pipe water supply schemes. Further, 120 habitations were proposed to be covered by the Community Water Purification Plant (CWPP).

The work of dismantling the hand pumps in arsenic polluted habitations had not been done. It should be completed in the next 3 month, the report said.

The report recommended that the health department should conduct a health survey in the affected areas in next 3 months and present a micro plan indicating the health hazards and their mitigation strategy to NGT in 6 months time. Another recommendation was that the agriculture department should conduct a study to assess the impact of Arsenic on the food chain. They may prepare the impact assessment plan in 6 months time alongwith mitigation strategy like change in cropping pattern, modification in agricultural practices etc.