INDORE: A nine-year-old boy suffering from juvenile skeletal fluorosis at a remote village of Jhabua district has found that the disease has made it difficult for him to get an Aadhar card [similar to a Social Security number in the U.S.].
For seven years, he has been crawling due to the deformity using his hands. Now, the biometric devices are not able to record his finger prints for the unique identity proof.
The matter came to fore when NGOs working for fluorosis patients found that Ramchandra was sent back from Aadhar card camps at his village Dungri Phalia on many occasions as finger prints could not be recorded.
“It is too early to say that fluorosis has caused this problem. But the issue was reported by his father,” Dr Sunderrajan Krishnan of INREM Foundation, the NGO working for fluorosis patients in the area, told TOI.
NGO’s field officer Sachin Vani, who first spoke to Ramchandra’s father Duda Bhanwar, said the boy had been suffering from juvenile skeletal fluorosis that had been causing deformity in his lower limbs. “The child crawled and could not walk, when we first met him in 2015,” he said.
Duda Bhanwar claimed that Ramchandra’s school has been asking for an Aadhar card to complete formalities, but he has not been able to get one. “We have tried four times, his finger prints are not getting recorded,” he told Vani
Jhabua zila panchayat CEO Anurag Choudhari confirmed that the matter has come to his notice and he has issued instructions of getting an Aadhar card issued to Ramchandra. “Aadhar card is an inclusive scheme. How can one be denied Aadhar card if the biometrics are not recorded? There are people without limbs. Won’t they be issued Aadhar card?” Choudhari said.
But Ramchandra’s plight indicates at a growing problem in the area due to high fluoride content in the around 30 villages in five blocks of Jhabua district. As many as 1,512 people have been recorded to be affected with fluorosis, of whom, 32 suffer from skeletal fluorosis.
Jhabua CMHO Dr Arun Sharma claimed that fluorosis affected areas have been identified. Public health engineering department had shut down hand pumps with high fluoride content. The patients are treated at different health facilities. But he claimed that exact records of patients could has not been collected.