Fluoride Action Network

Andhra Pradesh: Fluorosis victims struggle for rights

Source: The Hindu | March 30th, 2009 | By P. Sridhar
Location: India

Tirupathamma says she is not contesting to win, only to raise her voice against government apathy

She looks frail and older than her age, but her determination cannot be doubted. P. Tirupathamma, who is gearing for the elections, makes it clear that she is not contesting to win but to raise her voice against the Andhra Pradesh government’s apathy towards the debilitating fluorosis, of which she is herself a victim.

The 28-year-old, a native of Vattipally village in the parched Nalgonda district, will contest from the Nalgonda parliamentary constituency on behalf of the Fluorosis Vimukthi Samithi, an organisation fighting for the rights of the victims of fluorosis, a disease that affects the limbs and stunts body growth.

This is not the first time she is in the electoral fray, having contested local body elections in the past.

“Winning or losing is not the purpose of contesting the election,” she says. All she wants is to raise awareness about people like her, who are victims of a partly natural and partly manmade tragedy.

Ms. Tirupathamma wants to expose the indifference of the successive State governments, which have not bothered to provide protected drinking water to the fluoride-affected villages and rehabilitate the victims, she asserts.

70,000 people affected

More than 70,000 people suffer from this fluorosis in the district, mainly in Munugodu and Devarakonda Assembly constituencies.

A. Swamy, another fluoride victim of Shivannagudem, is also planning to contest the election from Bhongir Parliament seat towards the same end.