Unholy water?

Published: Thursday 30 April 1998

thousands of pilgrims drink the water of Doodh talao -- the pond in the premises of Tarakeshwar temple -- as Chranamrit. But with the domestic waste from sounding localities flowing into the pond through at least four drains and people openly defecating around it, this water could be anything but holy.

Acting on a suo-moto report submitted by the Pollution Control Board ( pcb ), West Bengal, the Calcutta High Court "Green Bench" has ordered the Tarakeshwar municipality and the temple estate manager to take steps to stop drainage of waste into the pond.

The holy water sold to the pilgrims in earthen pots is used as prasad . The matter is worsened by a school nearby which has no toilets. The pcb termed the water unfit for human consumption.

A separate study conducted by All India Institute of Hygiene and Public Health has found water nearest to the temple with very high pollutant count. The faecal coliform count is 35,000 per 100 millilitres. This can cause diseases like diarrhoea, enteric fever, typhoid, hepatitis, cholera and skin diseases.

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