Komna: Even as people of Jhinkidunguri, a remote village in the hilly terrains of Pendarabandh panchayat of Komna block in Nuapada district, are counting days after being affected by skeletal fluorosis for years now, the administration has done little to help them thanks to official negligence.
The main problem is consumption of fluoride-content water from tube wells. The tube wells draw water from deep in the ground that carries dangerous chemicals from fluoride-bearing rocks. The fluoride gets into the bones that cripple the body.
Due to lack of other water facilities in the village, locals are forced to depend on the tube wells for drinking water purposes, resulting in fluorosis. Many persons including minors, elderly persons and women have been affected by the disease.
People get bedridden as their bones stiffen and joints get damaged making them immobile. Many persons in the village have lost their lives while others count their last days. The administration is yet to take steps in this regard.
Some of the affected included Biswanath Majhi (38), his wife Minaki Majhi (35), Paramanand Majhi (42), Ladan Majhi (60), Hema Majhi (40), Lambhe Majhi (38), Ranjan Majhi (27), Habila Majhi (40) and Sajdei Majhi (42) while many have breathed their last due to the ailment. The disease has not spared minor children.
The village got its name from Jhinkidunguri hills. Surrounded by mountains, at least 20 tribal-families reside in the village. They depend on agriculture. Others without land depend on forest produce for their survival.
There are 10 minor children in the village who have been deprived of an Anganwadi centre. Lack of a school in the village has forced locals to put their children in many government residential schools. Nutritional food and vaccines are a dream for them.
Earlier, they depended on small ponds for drinking water. Later, a tube well was dug for this purpose. While locals were happy to get a tube well in the village, they had no idea that it would become a cause of worry for them.
After repeated complaints, a fluoride filter was fitted in the tube well only to be left dysfunctional after a few months of use. Since then the filter has been lying unused. No sooner the locals cross the age of 30 then they get crippled and bedridden, locals said. They develop pain in their back, legs and joints while the disease spreads from one person to another.
They fail to go for work and lay helpless at homes. Their only hope is the ration cards. However, they have large families, the rice available under ration cards hardly lasts for 10 days. Locals urged the administration to take note of their plight and take appropriate steps to prevent the disease. They demanded a proper drinking water supply project in their village. PNN
• Original article online at http://www.orissapost.com/skeletal-fluorosis-cripples-many-in-nuapada-village/