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Article From News From Bangladesh archives


WB bails out 4 towns

DPHE gets Tk 10.5cr aid to implement arsenic-free water projects

The World Bank will give Tk 10.5 crore for supply of safe water in Chapainawabganj, Kushtia, Chuadanga and Moheshpur (Jhenidah) municipalities where pipeline water is arsenic-contaminated beyond the permissible level.

The Department of Public Health and Engineering (DPHE), now supplying the contaminated water, will implement four projects in the four municipal towns on an emergency basis with the funds.

The funds will be diverted from projects of Bangladesh Arsenic Mitigation Water Supply Project (BAMWSP), aided by the WB and Swiss development Cooperation (SDC).

This was decided at a meeting of DPHE and World Bank officials here on Thursday last, sources said.

The DPHE will install a Tk three crore plant in Chapainawabganj to treat Mahananda river water for impurities and supply it to the town dwellers. The existing pipeline network in the town will also be expanded.

In the three other towns, it will set up three plants each costing T.2.5 crore to remove arsenic from deep tubewell water which is supplied through pipeline.

The four projects will be completed by June next year, the sources said.

The action followed a report in The Daily Star on June 10 titled 'The deaf DPHE', highlighting the authorities' inaction as regards supply of safe water in the four towns despite having options in hand.

Against the permissible level of 0.05 mg per litre, the level of arsenic was found to be 0.07 to 0.16 mg/L in Chuadanga, 0.08 to 0.06 mg/L in Kushtia, 0.09 to 0.15 mg/L in Moheshpur and 0.08mg/L in Chaipainawabganj.

Water of all the deep tubewells in the four municipalities were found to be arsenic- contaminated.

The levels of contamination were detected when water sample collected by BAMWSP were tested at the laboratory of Bangladesh Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (BCSIR) in August-November last year.

But the DPHE neither took any measure to remove the toxic chemical nor shut down the wells, sources in the DPHE said.

The meeting on Thursday was attended by four WB officials; Abdul Quadir, BAMWSP Project Director; Abu Muslim, DPHE Chief Engineer; A K Firoz Ahmed of BUET and high officials of Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB) and Geological Survey of Bangladesh (GSB). (The Daily Star)



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