An innovative cost-effective drinking water project in Bihar promises to lower the price of the one-litre bottle to 50 paise — cheapest in the world. The project — Sulabh Jal — was launched on Saturday in Darbhanga by Sulabh International. It will convert contaminated pond water into safe drinking water.
“Sulabh International, an organisation that introduced the concept of ‘Sulabh Shauchalya’ in the country decades ago from Bihar, today (Saturday) laid the foundation stone for an innovative project which will provide cheapest drinking water in the world costing only 50 Paisa per litre,” said a statement from the social service organisation.
“Sulabh Jal will be made available through various stages of purification. It can offer safe drinking water from any water body such as a river or a pond,” it said. Sulabh International founder Bindeshwar Pathak laid the foundation for the project at Haribol Pond on Darbhanga Nagar Nigam premises.
“The project work will start soon. By December it will be functional,” Pathak said. Installation of the project would cost around Rs 20 lakh and it would have a capacity to produce 8,000 litres of potable water per day at a nominal cost.
“Local people and NGOs are going to maintain it. It is a self-sustainable project with active participation of the community. It will also generate employment,” he said. The pilot project in three districts of North 24 Parganas, Murshidabad and Nadia in West Bengal had been jointly established three years ago by Sulabh and a French organisation and the trial run proved successful.
“This is first time in the world that we have succeeded in producing pure drinking water at a very nominal cost using this new technology and villagers would directly benefit from it,” said Pathak. Groundwater in many parts of Bihar bordering Nepal has been severely affected by arsenic and other chemical contamination.