FEROZEPORE – Higher fluoride content in underground water is causing tooth decay at an alarming rate among people of Fazilka and Jalalabad towns of this border district.

Due to inadequate supply of canal water, large section of the population uses underground water for drinking and often complains of tooth decay.

The administration and the medical authorities admit that the problem is acute in this part of the state and attribute it to the presence of high fluoride content in underground water. It is also causing joint pains among middle aged persons.

The situation is worst in Fazilka, where the authorities put the fluoride content rate at six to 12 part per million in the underground water. This rate is much above the normal rate of one part per million.

Inquiries revealed that on an average seven persons suffering from fluorisis report at the Fazilka  Civil Hospital every day. Confirming this, the Dental Officer, Dr Neeta Kataria, said the problem was on account of excessive fluoride in water. “Tooth decay has virtually affected the whole of the local population”, she said.

While fluorisis had affected people of all age groups, middle aged persons were increasingly complaining of joint pains, she added.

This has prompted the residents to purchase mineral water. Certain dealers of same popular brands allegedly take water from canals and bottle it for sale. A number of shops selling mineral water charge delivery costs.

The Fazilka SDM, Mr S.K. Singla, said the government was aware of the problem and had chalked out a project to provide river water to the residents through the public health network. A Rs 5-crore project was in the pipeline and likely to be completed within a year, he said.