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Testing laboratories ill-equipped to check water quality in State
2/11/2019 11:18:14 PM
Ishtiyaq Ahmad

Early Times Report

SRINAGAR, Feb 11: Despite over 100 water testing laboratories being operational in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), it seems water quality is not being ascertained properly as majority population of the state according to various surveys are still consuming unfiltered or contaminated water.
Official sources said that government had sanctioned 34 more water testing laboratories, besides the Union Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation has sanctioned two state level and one regional drinking water testing laboratories for the state in wake that unfiltered and contaminated water was being supplied to the people.
"We are not able to conduct water sampling properly as the already over 100 functional laboratories are not well equipped with manpower and other facilities," a senior official of Public Health Engineering (PHE) department said, wishing anonymity.
He said besides sanctioning two new water testing laboratories, government should also upgrade the already existing infrastructure in laboratories to ensure that filtered water was supplied to the people.
Sources revealed that PHE department had not prepared any plan for construction of modern filtration for each water supply scheme of the state.
They say raw water was collected from Nallahs directly at several places and was supplied to the public without getting it passed though the filtration plants.
Official sources said it was mandatory that all the drinking water sources to be tested once in every year for chemical contamination and twice for bacteriological contamination.
"Majority rural population receive contaminated water as filtration plants are not available at all the places of the state. Even testing can't be done of every drinking water source due to lack of adequate manpower and machinery," officials said.
"It is also mandatory that testing should be done to private tube wells of the people as well."
A senior official of PHE said, "I don't have the figures available about the number of testing labs that are lacking adequate infrastructure. You can get the details from the Chief Engineer's office."
But, a senior official of Chief Engineer's office said the government was in the process to ensure that filtered water was supplied to all consumers of the state. "It will take us some more time to cover the entire state with tap water supply and more filtration plants with proper water testing facility," he said. While as, medical experts are of the opinion that the percentage of people in J&K, suffering from various abdominal disorders, including liver and kidney ailments are the result of consumption of untreated water.
The alarming increase of unfiltered water supplied to the people has also been pointed out by report released by Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG). The census report of Government of India and a study by Integrated Disease Surveillance Unit (IDSU), Srinagar had revealed that more than half of the population of J&K was vulnerable to water-borne diseases due to consumption of untreated and contaminated water.
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