NAYAGARH: Fluorosis has virtually crippled life in several villages in Nayagarh district. Fluoride in drinking water is above the permissible limit of one part per million (ppm) in at least 190 villages of the district.
Nayagarh block has 53 villages where water is contaminated with fluoride followed by 52 in Nuagaon block, 25 in Daspalla block, 22 in Odagaon block, 19 in Gania block, 11 in Bhapur block and seven villages in Khandapara block. Ranpur block has only one such village.
Fluoride content in drinking water is at a dangerous level of 9 ppm in Jautukapatana - Harijan Sahi, six ppm each in Jautukapatna and Kodiekahania - all in Nayagarh block. Nachhipur in Daspalla block, Kadua in Gania block and Haripur village and Kridaspur in Nayagarh block have three to four ppm of fluoride in drinking water sources.
Most of the people in rural areas depend on tube wells, the water of which is either contaminated with fluoride or iron, calcium and arsenic making them vulnerable to diseases. The number of revenue villages in the district is 1,707.
Fluorosis does not kill but makes the victim invalid. Dental fluorosis makes white teeth chalky with yellow brown bands. The symptoms of skeletal fluorosis are severe pain and stiffness in neck, backbone and joints and ugly gait and posture. Besides, the disease creates gastro-intestinal problems with abdominal pain. It also leads to neurological disorders like nervousness and depression.
A national programme for prevention and control of fluorosis was implemented in the district in August this year and three investigators are conducting a door-to-door survey in the villages. A doctor, appointed on contractual basis, who is to train and guide them and hold meetings is absent most of the time. A medical staffer on condition of anonymity said the doctor comes here once or twice a month. At a recent workshop on ‘water and sanitation’, organised by Maitree Yuva Sansad, a local NGO with support from Fresh Water Action Network South Asia (FANSA), expressed concern over increasing fluoride problem in the district.
The workshop was attended by BB Panda, retired Chief Engineer (RWSS), and PC Mishra, State convener of FANSA. Steps are being taken for alternative sources of drinking water, sources said. As many as 40 tube wells have been sealed, the SDO said.