No fluoride-affected villages in Telangana thanks to Mission Bhagiratha

Friday, September 18th, 2020, 02:00:00 PM IST

Hyderabad, Sep 18 (IANS) Telangana now has no fluoride-affected habitation as the state has overcome the problem thanks to Mission Bhagiratha, the state government’s flagship programme to provide safe drinking water to every household.

According to a statement by the government of India tabled in Parliament, Telangana had 967 fluoride-affected habitations as on April 1, 2015. This became zero as on August 1, 2020.

“Number of Fluoride-affected villages at the time of formation of Telangana was 967. After the successful implementation of the Mission Bhagiratha, the number has come down to zero,” tweeted Municipal Administration and Urban Development Minister K. T. Rama Rao on Friday.

He also tagged the list of states with arsenic and fluoride affected habitation as tabled in the Parliament.

Rama Rao congratulated the Mission Bhagiratha team for its success in overcoming the problem.

The Nalgonda district has been affected by fluorosis, a crippling disease which affects bones and teeth due to excessive intake of fluorine-heavy water, for a long time.

More than a lakh people in the district are estimated suffering from the disease. Those afflicted by the disease are found with crippled limbs, twisted joints, bent spine, disfigured faces, stunted growth and yellowish or brownish enamel on their teeth.

According to the World Health Organisation norms, the maximum permissible limit of fluoride in drinking water is 1 milligram per litre. However, in the affected villages of Nalgonda district, it was 10 mg to 19 mg.

The high fluorine content in the district was attributed to very low groundwater levels. Under Mission Bhagiratha, the government also built a water treatment plant at a cost of Rs 436 crore to provide safe drinking water to 585 villages affected by fluorosis.

The report about Telangana overcoming the problem of fluorosis came a month after it was ranked number one in the country under the Centre’s Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM). The state secured top ranking with 98.31 per cent of households having functional tap connections.

According to JMM, Telangana has 53,45,962 Functional Household Tap Connections. The remaining 1.69 per cent (91,777) households are in the process of getting the connections.

Officials say the credit for this goes to Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao’s dream project Mission Bhagiratha, which was implemented with an estimated cost of Rs 43,791 crore. Bulk water connections have already been provided to 23,960 of 23,968 habitations.

Impressed with the success of Mission Bhagiratha, several states have come forward to replicate the scheme.

–IANS