Kolkata : Kolkata has a water ATM – a coin-operated machine that sells A litre of potable water has been priced at Rs.2 which will enable all sections of society to access clean drinking water by inserting coins, way cheaper than what’s available in the markets right now. The water ATM is a pilot for a government project to put up such ATMs in rural areas where drinking water is scarce.
A bottle of pure, clean, cold water in the blistering summer heat is bringing relief to many Kolkatans. The water ATM has been installed at Ekdalia Park in South Kolkata.
“In summer we feel very thirsty and we cannot carry so much water. But here we can pay just Rs. 2 and even share a bottle of mineral water,” said homemaker Paromita Choudhuri.
Aadesh Mahato, a student off a nearby school said, “It is difficult to shell out Rs. 20 for a bottle of water from our pocket money. This is cheaper for us so we come here to get water.”
Water ATMs have been around in Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh. The big difference in Bengal is the focus on rural areas. The German made machines will ensure the water is fluoride and arsenic free, a basic necessity that’s often a luxury for many.
In arid districts like Bankura, such solutions are welcome as around 10 per cent of the population depends on ponds, wells and lakes leading to water borne diseases.
Minister for Public Health Engineering Subrata Mukherjee said, “70 per cent of medical suffering is due to bad water or contaminated water. We want everyone to get the best quality of water. This scheme is mainly for the rural people. But for the pilot project, to create awareness, we are starting with 50 units.”