Arsenic-affected village now selling packaged drinking water - Thanks to new technolgy

Once forced to drink arsenic- contaminated ground water, residents of a remote hamlet in West Bengal near Indo-Bangla border are now purifying water from ponds and selling packaged safe drinking water to neighbouring villages.
Using a new innovative technology from France, village co-operative society Madhusudankati Samabay Krishi Unnayan Samity has constructed a water purification project which converts contaminated pond water into safe drinking water.

The co-operative is now supplying arsenic-free drinking water to a hundred families located in Madhusudankanti and selling it to nearby villages of North 24 Parganas district at only 50 paise per litre.

"At present we are purifying and selling 2000 litres of water every day after packing it in jars and bottles. Around 200 families from outside the village are also our customers," co-operative chairman Haladhar Sharma told PTI.
Labelled as 'Sulabh Jal', the project is funded and conceptualised by Sulabh International which had pioneered the Sulabh Sauchalya (Sulabh Toilets) in the country.

Sulabh founder Bindeshwar Pathak said the water purification technology had been tested in Cambodia and Madagascar but is being used on a larger scale for the first time in the village.

"This is the first time in the world that we have succeeded in producing pure drinking water at a very nominal cost by this new technology," he said.

Located in Gaighata block, the remote village is 14 km away from Bangladesh border.
The model uses a four-stage purification process using alum and UV filter to produce clean water.

"Our production cost is only 30 paise while other costs like distribution, storing, manpower come to 20 paise and so we call sell it easily at 50 paise per litre in jars and bottles," Sharma said.

Every day villagers come to the plant to buy the 20-litre jars of 'Sulabh Jal'.
People from three nearby villages of Bishnupur, Faridkati and Teghoria too queue up to buy drinking water.

This news was published in Deccan herald