New Delhi: With parts of eastern India grappling arsenic contamination in water, government on Thursday said it was setting up an international centre in Kolkata to deal with such problems.
"We are setting up an International Centre for Water Quality for the first time in Kolkata. This would be exclusively devoted to deal with problems relating to arsenic contamination particularly in eastern parts of the country," Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh told the Lok Sabha.
An initial allocation of Rs 50 crore has been made for the Centre and as and when more resources are required, the government would expand it, he said during Question Hour.
He said the only answer to the problem of arsenic in India is surface water.
"Today 85 per cent of rural drinking water comes from ground water sources.
That is a single biggest problem. Unless we move away to surface water, we will not be able to address the problems of water quality," Ramesh said.
Arsenic contamination is a very serious issue in parts of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal and Assam as well as some other states.