Namkhana (WB): Inadequate piped water supply is one of the main reasons for high instances of diarrhoea in Sunderbans, home to the world's largest mangrove forest, according to Word Bank, which called for immediate concrete steps to tackle the problem.
"Only 32 per cent of households in the (entire) Sunderbans are covered by piped water supply (28 per cent of the population). Piped water supply connections to households in South 24 Parganas blocks range from 3 per cent to 40 per cent, and the range for North 24 Parganas blocks is 21 per cent to 57 per cent," a World Bank report stated.
Sundarbans is situated in both North and South 24 Parganas districts of West Bengal.
The report, titled "Building Resilience for Sustainable Development of the Sunderbans - Strategy Report" said, "According to a study conducted under the NLTA, there were an estimated 1,925 deaths and over 1.5 million cases of diarrhoea in the the Sunderbans caused by inadequate household water supply, sanitation and hygiene in 2008."
Around 1,700 of those who died were children under five years of age.
Senior consultant with the World Bank Sanjay Gupta told PTI that the situation of drinking water supply in Sunderbans was very poor and called for immediate and concrete steps to tackle the problem and improve the situation.
According to Gupta, piped water schemes supply water with an an average of 40 liters per capita per day while spot sources such as tubewells and hand pumps supply an average five liters per capita per day.
"One of the main problems in piped water supply is it requires electricity for pumping and many blocks are subject to frequent power outages," Gupta said.
The majority of households in Sunderbans rely on spot sources for water for drinking.
According to the report, a recent survey has pointed out that 91.9 per cent of the household in Sunderbans rely on public tubewell and six per cent on ponds.