November 7, 2013 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
Faridkot, Punjab (November 7, 2013): According to media reports the poor quality of drinking water is was main reason behind the death of 30 prisoners in Faridkot Central Jail in the last two years. The news has come during a time when Punjab government is claiming that the state has become first in north India to have installed reverse osmosis (RO) plants at mass level to provide safe drinking water to its population affected by highly contaminated water.
“Though these deaths in the jail, led to protests by the inmates, the jail authorities are still waiting for funds to arrange for the supply of safe drinking water”, The Tribune (TT) has reported in its Nov. 7, 2013 edition.
As the drinking water supply of this first-ever modern jail of Punjab, which is based on a Spanish model and was constructed at a cost of over Rs 112.44 crore two years back, depends on the Sirhind Feeder canal, the bacterial contamination in the drinking water supply in the jail is also a common occurrence.
“Every time the prisoners created a ruckus after the death of an inmate, the health department rushed to the jail to collect samples of drinking water and most of the time, bacterial contamination was found in the water but no measures were taken to improve the quality of water”, TT report reads further.
“In July-August, the health department collected three samples of drinking water and these were found to be unhygienic and unsafe for human consumption” Dr Surinder Kumar, District Health Officer (DHO), Faridkot reportedly said.
It is notable that Punjab’s ground and river water has been contaminated to a large extent. A major source of contamination is the industrial-toxic waste that is let to flow into water sources. A research conducted by various social organizations under the banner of Vatavaran Bachao Taalmel Committee had revealed that various industrial units have installed bore-wells though which they were injecting highly dangerous chemical waste beneath the earth that was bound to contaminate the ground water.
Punjab government under pressure from its political ally BJP, and major industrialists, has failed to take action against the industrial units that are polluting the water resources.
Various research reports have suggested that contaminated water is the major cause of cancer epidemic in Punjab.