GONDIA: After Pindkepar village in Goregaon tehsil, the neighbouring village Kanhartola is also reporting a number of cases of partial or full disability due to the high amount of fluoride in the groundwater. Over 50 residents of this village of 200 people have been affected, sources said. The village, around 20km from Gondia, is inhabited by 25-odd families.
Following reports of a huge number of fluoride victims in the village, some journalists visited the location. The families in the village said there is at least one victim of excess fluoride in every family. In some cases, the entire family claims to have fallen prey to this polluted water.
Omraj Baghele (40) has been practically on the bed for the last couple of years, said his family members. Also, the right leg of Devilal Rahangdale (55) was amputated due complications arising out of the same condition while Anusuya Rahangdale (45) said she has become afflicted with orthopaedic disorders and arthritis. Tejram Baghele and his young child Sachin Baghele’s teeth have become pale yellow and brittle. The list of such patients goes well past 50.
Speaking to TOI, former gram panchayat member Vikram Baghele said they have been trying to bring this problem to the notice of various leaders, officers and doctors. However, no one seems to be taking any steps to bring respite to this village.
However, the teachers and Anganwadi Sewikas of this village need special mention. There is one drinking water connection at some distance from the school in this village. The teachers are contributing Rs 50 per month from their salaries to make provision of drinking water for students in the school. However, the children do not have access to piped water when they go home in the village.
Former sarpanch of nearby village Pindkepar, Rajendra Rathod, said that in 1989, when Mahadeorao Shiwankar was irrigation minister, the media had brought this issue to his notice. Shiwankar had proposed construction of a special tank on BOT basis for clean drinking water to these villages, however no one appears to have pursued the matter after that.
Fluoride up to 0.5 PPM (parts per million) is tolerable, but in these villagers the levels are as high as 4.5 to 10.06 PPM, which is harming the health of the people in these villages, Rathod said.
Deputy engineer of rural water supply scheme Sanjay Hemke said that the above villages come under the jurisdiction of Maharashtra Gramin Jivan Pradhikaran. He said that if the leaders of this village take the initiative and apply for special supply of clean water, it can be provide from the nearby Mundikota water supply scheme, and the menace could be resolved immediately.
Senior geologist of groundwater department JD Maidamwar and geologist Girish Kulkarni said that 200 is a very small population for them to put up any fluoride equipment for the safety of the people in this village.