JHARSUGUDA: High amount of fluoride content in groundwater continues to be a threat to Mahulmunda village for the last four years. With no solution in sight, 30 families of the village under Patrapalli panchayat in the district are depending on a pit for getting drinking water.

The village had two borewells to meet the water requirement. But in 2015, most of the villagers were affected by fluorosis after consuming water from these borewells. People became handicapped and their teeth got stained. Acting on several complaints over the issue, the Chief District Medical Officer (CDMO) collected  water sample and it was found that it contained high fluoride level. Later, the RWSS department sealed both the borewells.

According to World Health Organisation, more than 1.5 mg of fluoride per litre of water is dangerous for consumption.

Sarpanch Dillip Sahoo said, “After the borewells were sealed, no alternative arrangement was made to provide drinking water to the village. We had also discussed with the Block Development Officer (BDO) to find out a solution to the water crisis, but to no avail. Villagers are forced to walk 1.5 km to collect water from a pit for drinking purpose,” he added.

Ketaki Sahu, a 50-year-old woman of the village, said, “For the last four years, we have been collecting water from the pit for daily use. This summer, the situation has become worse. High temperature has resulted in drying up of surface water. We are forced to use water from the contaminated pit for survival. We wash our clothes once a week to save water.”

Dr P R Dubey of a local hospital said skeletal fluorosis is a bone disease caused by excessive accumulation of fluoride in bones. In advanced stage, this disease causes severe damage to bones and joints. Many villagers suffer from skeletal fluorosis, which leads to joint pain and dental fluorosis, he added.

Executive Engineer of Jharsuguda RWSS Siba Ram Pradhan said the fluoride level in borewell was above permissible limits. The borewells were sealed four years back. He said drinking water will be supplied to the village through tankers soon.

Block Development Officer Shankar Kerketta said steps are being taken to solve the problem of water crisis in the village soon.

*Original article online at http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/odisha/2019/may/10/fluoride-affected-village-thirsts-for-clean-water-1975012.html