BALASORE: Ramdas Marandi's fluorosis is in such an advanced stage that he is unable to move around freely. Contraction of the spinal cord and constant ache in the joints is debilitating. Budharay Marandi, Marya Murmu and Chandramohan Tudu too have been experiencing similar symptoms, all of which are related to fluorosis.
Other people of Hatasahi village under Bangriposi block of Mayurbhanj district, including children, have been suffering from mottled and discoloration of teeth and bone deformities while more than 100 in the village are suffering from kidney related ailments. Of them 36 have been treated at SCB Medical College and Hospital, Cuttack.
Apart from Hatasahi, which has a population of more than 1,000, residents of nearby villages like Joka, Gedarasahi, Kurkutia, Asanshikhad and Budhakhamari under Kusumabal and Budhakhamari panchayats are also suffering from such ailments.
Even as high fluoride content in groundwater is suspected to be the prime reason behind the crippling disorder, a full-scale government action is yet to be taken to prevent the disease and check the fluoride content in drinking water.
Former sarpanch Sahadev Naik said middle-aged and old have been experiencing pain and swelling in their joints while children are suffering from complications of teeth and short height. “Most of the tubewells in the locality pump out red coloured water,” he said.
Doctors treating villagers suffering from kidney related ailments blamed drinking water and suspected high fluoride content as the reason.
As per Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), the permissible limit is 1.5 milligram fluoride per litre of water. Presence of fluoride beyond the permissible limit leads to health hazards like fluorosis and renal failure.
The villagers said, though they had intimated BDO Kukumina Das, Collector Rajesh Pravakar Patil and Tribal Welfare Minister Sudam Marndi about the health conditions of villagers and quality of drinking water, no official has visited the villages yet.
Neither the officials of the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation department nor health authorities have collected water samples for tests to ascertain the reasons behind such health complications, claimed Naik.
Contacted, in-charge CDMO Chandan Murmu feigned his ignorance about the health condition of the villagers. He assured to send a medical team to inquire and collect water samples for test.