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‘RO plants in rural areas not serving their purpose’


Bathinda, July 31

To prevent Malwa villagers from getting inflicted with cancer, the government installed Reverse Osmosis (RO) plants in villages aiming at providing safe drinking water to them. But it seems that the purpose is not being served as the samples of water taken from various villages and tested at the Science and Technology Department, Chandigarh, indicated that the RO water is as good as the groundwater.

This was stated by Dr G.S. Dhillon, former chief engineer with Punjab irrigation department and director of the Irrigation Research Institute, Amritsar for 14 years.

He agreed that the report aired on Doordarshan recently on water becoming uranium and heavy metals free to some extent if stored in an earthen pot was correct.

Dr Dhillon said the main reason of cancer being spread in Bathinda was contaminated groundwater. He also said that in a RO plant, only 50 per cent water is fit for drinking, rest is wasted and the method for disposing the RO plant waste water is not suitable for the populace. "The waste water is thrown in village pond from where animals utilise it and human beings also get exposed to it. It is cancer causing. So far no test has been done to find out from where this contamination is coming in Bathinda. Groundwater is taken from 150 to 200 feet and it is still polluted. RO can not free water from pesticides. The RO plant used in Punjab is one-stage. It needs to be improved to fight cancer," he added.

The villagers had earlier alleged that in spite of the RO plants, not even 50 per cent of houses in villages were getting water supply from there.

Gurnaib Singh from Deon village said, "We got RO system in our village but out of 1,108 houses, only 180 are getting RO water. One has to pay Rs 191 for connection and Rs 90 per month for water."

Gurnaib claimed that there had been nine deaths due to cancer in his village and nearly 30 persons were suffering from the disease. A doctor earlier had told TNS that heavy metals were the key reason for cancer in the Malwa region.

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