ONGOLE: Almost 600 young men in four villages are finding it to difficult to get a girl in marriage. For no fault of their own.
The girls in the neighbouring parts find fault with the water they drink! Yes, boys raised on flouride-contaminated water are, they believe, unfit for marriage.
A problem, hitherto considered a matter of health, is gradually assuming alarming proportions impacting every aspect of the lives of the poor villagers.
K Vasanta of Cheemalamarri village says: “People of other villages are reluctant to give their daughters in marriage to the youth in the village. Some of the marriage bureaux even refuse to register prospective brides and bridegrooms from these places.”
“They also deleted the names of the villages from their websites and the unmarried are falling victims to psychosomatic disorders due to lack of social relations,” Vasanta explains.
P Venugopal (48) of Pedagogulapalli village in CS Puram mandal for example is no youngster but continued consumption of contaminated water has severely affected his kidneys.
There are dozens like him suffering from different ailments in Vittalapuram, Neredpalli in PC Palli mandal and Chimalamarri and Badlamudi in Chimakurthi mandal.
People of other villages have snapped ties with these villagers. It is a known fact that groundwater in the region has excess content of Silicon, Strontium and Arsenic.
Even the life span of the people in these areas has come down to 50 years compared to the national average of over 60.
In a survey conducted by the Hyderabad-based Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences, it was revealed that the villagers in the fluoride-affected villages were suffering from kidney problems due to excess consumption of pain killers to get relief from flouride related diseases.
The problem is so severe that residents of Nereducharla village have appealed to the media not to highlight their problem as it was resulting in adverse publicity and they were being “socially ostracised.”
“Your publicity is proving to be more dangerous than the diseases,” they said.