Maldah, a district of West Bengal, India, is located near the Bangladesh and Bihar borders. And there is continuous influx of the migrants resulting in explosion of population. It has 15 Blocks, 147 Gram Panchayats with population of 3,988,845 of which male and female were 2,051,541 and 1,937,304 respectively.
Arsenic Situation in Maldah:-
Out of 15 blocks, 8 Blocks are affected by Arsenic Contamination in Ground water. Places affected by Arsenic are Kaliachak I, II & III, Englishbazar, Manikchak, Maldah (Old), Ratua I, Ratua II, Chachal I & II, Bamangola, Gazole, Harishchandrapur I & II.
We went to Maldah for finding the possibilities of STHF Involvement. We first went to few NGO labs and talked with the officials there and found out the exact points of high Arsenic contamination. We got few photo copies of Arsenic testing reports, and observed their Arsenic testing procedure, i.e Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometry. We found a NGO, which has done some Arsenic related work previously with UNICEF by providing Arsenic removal Filters to Villages. Now they only do arsenic testing and provide the results to Government.
We also went to two villages which is highly affected by arsenic, as reported.
The first we’ve visited is Mominpara (Khaltipur) of Kaliachak I, and found many arsenic patients, peoples with white and black spots. Peoples are concerned of arsenic but have nothing to do. We met a Gram Panchayat member and also a resident of that area, Mr. Nuru Islam said “Peoples are dying of Arsenic but Government is doing nothing, whereas the adjacent Villages have the Time-tap water supply.” After knowing about us, they don’t want any such plants in their village because one was installed long ago, after few days the plant got defunct, and now there is no sign of that plant.
The Second village we went was Uttarpara (Shekpura) in Manikchak, which is highly affected by Arsenic and we got some shocking informations. In Uttarpara, 30-40 peoples died of Cancer, that caused from Arsenic and three Families are totally destroyed due to Arsenic, and the rest families in that village are dying. We met with an Arsenic patient, Mr. Rabiul Haq, he said though the village has Time-Taps but mostly it remains dry, So they’ve to resort to Tubewell water.