YAVATMAL: A 250ft borewell, the only source of water for Asola village in Yavatmal tehsil, which was considered a boon in this parched region, is proving to be a bane for the residents.
The Banjara-dominated village with 1,400 populace has already witnessed 14 deaths due to kidney ailments in 24 months while 25 others are also suffering from kidney diseases.
Earlier, the village along with adjacent tribal village Bothbodan had accounted for 19 farmer suicide cases, making it one of the worst affected villages in the district.
Experts to whom TOI talked to claimed that water in the borewell is contaminated with nitrate and its use is the main cause of the kidney diseases. 60-year-old villager Manu Suriyabhan Rathod, who died of kidney ailment on Tuesday, was the 14th victim.
Renowned nephrologists of Amravati Dr Avinash Chaudhari, while talking to TOI on phone, said he has been treating a large number of kidney patients from Yavatmal district. “The main reason for kidney diseases is consumption of contaminated water,” Dr Chaudhari said, adding the number of kidney patients in Yavatmal may go up due to supply of untested and unpurified water to villages through tankers.
“Most of the water supplied through tankers by government agencies is unsafe for drinking and it’s mostly contaminated with fluoride or nitrate which causes the ailments,” Dr Chaudhari said, adding he would hold a camp in the village on March 11 and examine the patients and provide suitable treatment.
During a visit along with a social worker, this scribe noticed that the village does not have any medical facilities and the nearest public health centre is 20 km away at Sawargad. In the absence of adequate transportation facility, the villagers find it difficult to reach out for help in medical emergencies. Even when the patients are rushed to the PHC, there are no qualified doctors and staff to treat them, the villagers complained.
In the absence of a medical store, the villagers have to depend on a grocery store owner for painkillers.
A few social workers including Ajay Rathod, Dinesh Rathod and Aakash Rathod, who are pathology lab technicians, visited the village and tested blood samples of the residents. They have identified 25 persons suffering from kidney ailments. Ajay Rathod said these villagers would be taken to Savangi-based Vinoba Bhave Rural Hospital for further tests and treatment on Friday (March 9).
Social worker from the village Sudhir Sontake demanded a committee of experts to study the situation and urged the government to set up PHC in the village.
ZP vice-president Shyam Jaiswal, former MLA Vijaya Dhote and former ZP education committee chairman Devanand Pawar also visited the village and consoled the bereaved families. Pawar demanded financial assistance to the kin of the deceased under the Baliraja Chetana Abhiyan.