The Karnataka High Court on Monday asked the State government to take immediate steps to supply potable water to fluoride-affected areas of Pavagada taluk by making temporary arrangements after the State filed an affidavit indicating various measures initiated in this connection.

A Division Bench, comprising Chief Justice D.H. Waghela and Justice S.N. Satyanarayana, issued an oral direction during hearing of a public interest litigation petition which has sought directions for supply of potable drinking water while highlighting the health problems being faced by the people due to fluoride content in the water supplied from borewells now.

The Bench adjourned further hearing on the petition for two weeks asking the government to indicate the immediate steps that would be taken to supply potable water.

Meanwhile, in his affidavit, Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Department Principal Secretary T.M. Vijaya Bhaskar has said that of the 369 rural habitats in Pavagada, water quality is affected in 179 habitats. In 136 habitats, water is affected by fluoride content, in 31 habitats, water is hit by iron content and in 12 habitats, it suffers from salinity.

The affidavit said that a scheme to draw water from the Hemavati canal source to benefit 27 of these habitats is being proposed. Alternatively, Penna Ahobalam Balancing Reservoir as well as a scheme related to the Tungabhadra reservoir are being examined in consultation with Andhra Pradesh. However, the government stated that the implementation of these projects would require 24 months.

However, the Bench wanted the government to initiate immediate steps for supplying potable water to these habitats till long-term schemes are implemented.

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