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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Alarming condition of ground water in Jharkhand state of India

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The people of Jharkhand state of India has already been at some risk due to intake of excessive quantities of minerals through ground water. With the exponential rise in population burdened by heavy drop of population from other areas of the country accelerated by urbanization and industrialization, the pressure on land, water and other resources of this plateau area has increased manifold. Since the area has got the status of a separate state some years back, the pressure on its resources has been increasing at a very fast rate. Not alone the ground water and land have come under heavy pressure due to urban housing and growing apartment culture in the capital city of Ranchi, the air of the city too has become burdened by pollutants due to exponential rise in the number of vehicles especially motor cycles, auto rickshaws, and varieties of cars without any specific provision of city buses. Reclamation of green lands, wet lands and tribal lands by land mafias and the like people has already put the area under serious ecological imbalance. Being a coal- rich state and having a number of mines with underground fire, the atmosphere of Jharkhand has already been under pollution without any care either from the Central Government or from the state government. Under these conditions, it can be said that the environment of the state is passing through a very critical stage. The condition of underground water has become rather more critical.

A thorough survey and testing of samples of under ground water collected from different blocks of different districts of the state has been reportedly been done by the Underground Water Directorate of Jharkhand recently and the report released about the condition of ground water in the state has created a high level of tension among the people who find themselves really concerned with the welfare and development of the state. As per the report the quantity of Fluoride and Arsenic is far above the acceptable limit in many districts including Sahebganj, Dumka, Dhanbad, Hajaribagh, Chatra, Garhwa, Simdega, Bokaro etc. The underground water in most of the districts has already been reported to contain high percentage of iron. Increasing number of deep bore wells especially in urban areas of Ranchi due to increasing number of apartments has already started aggravating the problems with underground water including high concentration of mineral content of underground water which has gone much deeper than the desired water level. It is important to note that the state is already under short supply of ground water due to its specific geology. But unwise exploration of water and reducing number of ground water recharge structures due to land acquisition, land reclamation- including reclamation of ponds and other wet lands has compounded the problem into a tragedy which is overhead.

No doubt the increasing concentration of minerals in the ground water of Ranchi has forced its people to form the habit of taking  antacids on  routine basis and bear its side effects; moving with gas in their bellies; belching out gas while regular movements, and suffering from  compound gastroenteritis etc. etc. Just say You have some trouble in your stomach, the first listener will at once say with a high degree of confidence that – you have gas in your stomach, and without waiting your acceptance or rejection, he will at once start prescribing you medicines – like Zinetac, Rantac-D, Pan- D, Rabaprazole,Omez, Pantaprazole etc. Who remembers digene now; even laymen in Ranchi have left prescribing this old medicine. On the side of Homoeopathy Nux with different potencies and carbovege are very common names. Only serious patients reluctantly go to doctors, and over the counter sale of medicines is in full swing now .  On the other hand the installation of water purifying devices like Aqua guard which used to be a status symbol earlier  in Ranchi, has become a necessity now a days. Not only Aqua guards alone, rather a number of other devices by many companied form major parts of the talks of the day. Every one in the area is worried on how to filter the water for drinking. Just move in the city from door to door and you are sure to find any one of such devices there. You will hear people talking about water cleaning equipments fitted with RO (reverse osmosis) facility or so though many of them really don’t know what this actually is. See, how has the problem of mineral concentration in underground water of Ranchi and other towns of Jharkhand which has been created by falling water table, made its people advanced in General Knowledge that too pertaining to medicine and science and technology. Hardships teach us lessons and make us much adaptable. But, don’t they teach us to solve a problem at its root? Don’t they teach us to keep more and more civic sense? Don’t they teach us to look towards the interests of our fellow beings too?

Any way, let us confine ourselves to the gravity of the problem. Solutions? Let other people or the governments think about them. Across decades we the people of Jharkhand, especially of Ranchi, have learnt how to live a prestigious life? If you experience a black out and no electricity is being supplied in the city, buy a generator or subscribe to a generator by paying charges fixed by its owner. If a number of such generators are blackening the sky by the smoke emitted through their exhaust pipes, let others think about it. Yes, Pollution Control Board is there in the state. Let learned people run up and down. Some day some news papers will surely report about it, and government may do something at that time.

Oh, we are frequently going out of topic like many teachers who teach in schools now days. Let us study data –

  1. Fall in the Underground Water Table through years in Jharkhand
Year                               fall in the Water- Table (m)
2004                              07
2005                              09
2006                              11
2007                              13
2008                              17
2009                              17

  1. Areas with Fluoride content in ground water beyond permissible limit
(Standard Level 1.0 to 1.5 PPM)
Place                                                 Quantity
Pratap Pur in Chatra                           2.42
Chas in Bokaro                                  2.14
Pakud                                               1.21
Garhwa                                             7.66
Bhandariya                                        1.59  

Areas with high concentration of Iron in Ground Water   
(Standard acceptable limit 2PPM)
Dhanbad area                                    2.92
Bokaro area                                     21.31
Simdega area                                   19.77
Singhbhoom area                                4.6
Dumka area                                       4.95
Garhwa area                                     25.2

Contamination of Agricultural Produce
Up to about 70 percent of farmers depend on ground water for irrigation in this area. As per the surveys conducted by Central Groundwater Board and the Jharkhand Groundwater Board, a considerable fall in the ground water level, the deep bore wells are supplying chemical water containing high percentage of iron, fluoride and arsenic. A study conducted recently reveals that food grains produced by crops irrigated with such water are containing high percentage of these chemicals.

Studies suggest that even deep bore wells are failing in the state. More than one hundred deep bore wells are being dug in the state. The water level in Godda area of the state has been reported to fall down up to 25 m. The exploitation of ground water has got up to 3o times since last three years. On the other hand about 90 percent facilities of ground water recharge have been stopped completely. The availability of drinking water in the state has reduced to 1200cubic meter from 5200 cubic meter. On an average the fall of ground water level has been recorded to be about 52 feet. In the city area of Ranchi, the water level s reported to have gone deeper up to 13 meters. Under these conditions an acute water crisis is awaiting in this state if correct and sincere measures are not taken up on priority basis.
Key Words: Water, pollution, ground water, arsenic, fluoride, iron, contaminated, mineral concentration in ground water, gastroenteritis, over the counter sale of medicines, deep bore wells, contamination of agricultural produce, ground water level.

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