NHRC takes a serious view of the groundwater contamination in 31 of 38 districts in Bihar; issues notice to the State Government calling for a report within six weeks

ew Delhi, 4th March, 2022

The National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, India has taken suo motu cognizance of a media report quoting the recent Bihar Economic Survey report 2021-22, tabled in the Assembly, that in 31 of 38 districts of the State the groundwater is contaminated with Arsenic, Fluoride and excessive Iron. These may be causing serious health hazards including, among others, liver and kidney related problems. According to the media report, in all these districts, the rural areas in particular are more impacted.

The Commission has observed that the contents of the media report, if true, raise a serious issue of human rights violation. Accordingly, it has issued notices to the Chief Secretary and Secretary, Public Health Engineering Department, Govt. of Bihar calling for a report within six weeks. It should include safety measures taken to provide potable water in those districts and also the implementation of the scheme under “Har-Ghar-Jal-Nal-Yojana”. The Commission has also asked the State Pollution Control Board to submit the report on the random sampling of groundwater.

The media report, carried on 3rd March, 2022, also revealed that the groundwater in 30,272 rural wards is chemically contaminated. 4,742 rural wards of 14 districts situated along the Ganges are particularly affected by arsenic, 3791 rural wards of 11 districts are affected by fluoride and 09 Koshi basin districts and a few areas in other districts have excessive iron.