On 20 January 2018, a district level interface workshop on fluoride mitigation was held in Nuapada district in Odisha. The workshop was an opportunity to interface between various government departments that focus on water, and Jalabandhu network (community-based organization for water and sanitation management). The primary objective of the workshop was to make clean drinking water accessible and include fluorosis mitigation measures for the same.
The major decisions which emerged from the workshop during the open house discussion are as follows:
- To avoid further usage of fluoride contaminated water, PRIs created a Gram Panchayat Development, emphasizing on the fact that no borewells would be dug. Instead, small surface water/rainwater harvesting structures will be planned.
- Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) has planned to provide surface water supply through a mega-pipeline to all the fluoride affected areas.
- DWS also plans to discuss with the district collector for any additional fund mobilisation that will be required for disabled-friendly toilets.
- The District Health Department will certify all the skeletal fluorosis affected people for access of social security benefits.
- Panchayati Raj departments can use as much fund (> 30%) for water and sanitation from the 14th finance budget.
The workshop saw the participation of representatives from the department of drinking water and sanitation, health, nutrition, social welfare, panchayat raj, and district rural development authority. They shared the plan and programmes that the government is considering for fluorosis mitigation. District level Jalabandhu network was reformed and new office bearers were nominated.