Sitamarhi (Bihar), Apr 24 : With groundwater level going down by over 20 feet in areas bordering Nepal, Sitamarhi district in the state has taken a noble step by constructing 2,168 soak pits in schools, health centres and police stations among others at a war-footing to conserve and recharge water below earth. The initiative involving community has been taken by Sitamarhi district administration in partnership with UNICEF. Also Read - Bihar News: Congress MLA Santosh Mishra's Nephew Shot Dead in Rohtas

The programme, which involves 11,000 teachers and 7 lakh students of government schools, has been undertaken to conserve water and avoid situation like Latur in Maharashtra in future, District Magistrate Rajiv Roushan told PTI today. The step was part of the “Lohia Swacha Abhiyan” of the Nitish Kumar-led Bihar government. A day before the Earth Day on April 22, Tirhut Commissioner Atul Prasad, Sitamarhi DM Rajiv Roushan along with UNICEF Programme Manager Shivendra Pandey launched the construction work of a soak pit in the district at the Dumra Girls’ School. Same day 2,168 soak pits were constructed in various locations in one go, the DM said. (Also Read: Liquor ban in Bihar by Nitish Kumar reunites a couple after 16 years) Also Read - Bihar: 6 Killed, 3 Injured in Road Accident in Katihar's Kursela

The Commissioner said through this initiative around 26 crore litre of water could be saved in the district annually, which would be equal to 500 train loads of water being sent to Latur in Maharashtra in view of the acute water crisis there. He said efforts would be made to include the initiative, probably first of its kind, in the Guinness Book of World Records. Also Read - Bihar Board Class 10 Students Vandalise Properties at Patna's Boring Road After Social Science Paper Is Cancelled

The DM said the initiative was necessitated by looming danger of water shortage in the district as manifested by lowering of ground water level. Survey pointed towards the stark facts that groundwater has gone down on average by 13 feet in the district. In areas like Sonebarsa and Parihar on borders of Nepal, groundwater level had gone down by over 20 feet, he said.

Giving details of 2,168 soak pits, Roushan said 1983 of them have been built in government schools in 17 blocks, 40 in madarsas, 25 in hospitals like primary health centres, 17 police stations and 13 PDS shops among others. Besides conserving water, soak pits would help prevent diseases due to contaminated water, he said. Nipurnh Gupta, Communication Specialist of UNICEF told PTI that the International body has provided technical support to soak pit projects in Sitamarhi. Buoyed by success of the pilot project in Sitamarhi, she said if other districts come out with similar initiative, UNICEF would extend them similar technical support.