Principal Secretary, Rural Development and Panchayat Raj, Amitha Prasad, on Saturday inaugurated the defluoridation plant installed by Waterlife India Pvt. Ltd. on a pilot basis, in Somanayakana tanda on the outskirts of Gulbarga.

It was found that the only source of drinking water in the tanda was contaminated during the annual water quality testing in November 2010. The water from the tubewell in the tanda had a fluoride content of 2 ppm against the permissible limit of 1 ppm.

Mohan Rambaore of Waterlife India said that the unit cost Rs. 2.5 lakh and had been installed for free. The company would maintain the plant for five years.

Company officials said that the installation process for a purification unit at Kiradalli village in Yadgir district would be completed soon. Many persons in Kiradalli tanda were suffering from skin cancer.

Speaking after inaugurating the unit, Ms. Prasad said the unit had the capacity to provide potable water at 1,200 litres an hour and it was the residents' responsibility to maintain the unit even after the five-year free maintenance by the company was over.

She, however, said that installing similar units in all fluoride-affected villages would be uneconomical. The State Government would take up other economical measures such as providing surface drinking water sources in affected villages and taking up watershed works to improve the groundwater level in fluoride-affected villages. “It has been proved that once the groundwater level increases, fluoride content in drinking water reduces automatically,” Ms. Prasad said.

Secretary of the Hyderabad Karnataka Area Development Board Shalini Rajneesh Goel was present.