New Delhi, Aug 13 (IANS) The union cabinet Tuesday gave its approval to the proposal for establishing International Centre for Drinking Water Quality in Kolkata which will research water quality-related problems including contamination by arsenic and fluorides.
"The centre will be registered as a society under the Societies Registration Act, 1860," an official release said after the cabinet meet.
It said that the centre will focus on research in quality related problems of drinking water in both rural and urban areas including contamination by arsenic and fluoride.
"The centre will also provide policy advice to central and state governments as also to other countries on water quality issues," it said.
The release said that the centre will benefit the entire population of the country as bacteriological contamination was more or less evenly spread.
The total cost of the project will be Rs.176.64 crore and the expenditure will be met from funds provided to the ministry of drinking water and sanitation under the National Rural Drinking Water Programme.
The centre will be established on 8.72 acres of land at Joka, Diamond Harbour Road, Kolkata earmarked for the purpose by the West Bengal government.
Officials said that rural drinking water supply was affected with various water quality problems including excess arsenic, fluoride, iron, salinity (total dissolved solids/chloride) and nitrates.
They said that there was also contamination of water through uranium, selenium, free silica, aluminium, chromium and pesticides.
They said as on April 1 last year, there were more than one lakh water quality affected habitations having population of 5.05 crore.
The officials said excess fluoride has been reported by 19 states and affected population had been estimated at 1.12 crore.
They said excess arsenic had been reported by seven states with affected population estimated at about 46 lakh.
About 2.20 crore people were estimated to be affected by iron contamination.
They said that population at risk due to salinity was about 86 lakh and by nitrate 33 lakh.
The officials said that contamination of water can cause health problems including those related to teeth, bones and skin.