Dhanbad: The 70-odd families of Brahmin Tola at Gharbar village are facing a unique problem as the eligible bachelors are unable to find a bride for themselves. The area is located 30km from Dhanbad town.
Abhishek Ganguly (name changed on request), who is in his mid thirties, said, “There are close to 40 males, who have crossed the age of 30 years. But they are not receiving marriage proposals as everyone is aware of the ill effects of flourosis that has impacted the residents of Brahmin Tola.”
As many as 12 tolas located near Gharbar village have the highest number of fluorosis patients in the district due to the high fluoride content in groundwater. Stained and pitted teeth, deformed bones and frail-skeleton-like body are common symptoms here. No one wants to smile or grin as doing so would expose their stained teeth.
Swapan Kumar (40) (name changed on request), who is still a a bachelor, said, “Life starts fading away fast after 40. We have been advised not to use water from the village taps or the hand pumps even for bathing. We have started using bottled water bought from nearby Sindri and Baliapur for drinking purposes. But even a 20lt water bottle worth Rs 25 is a costly affair for the villagers, who are mostly daily wagers. So, bottled water is used as an essential medicine for survival.”
Widower Savitri Devi (61) of Ghabar village said, “I have developed a problem in the spine due to fluorosis. I cannot even get out of bed without help.” She lives alone in the house after her husband died due to the complications associated with this disease several years ago. Her husband’s extended family members who stay nearby take care of her daily needs.
The outgoing ‘mukhiya’ of Gharbar, Hare Krishna Mahto, said, “Government agencies and district administration officials have visited the village umpteen times in the past 15 years. Fluoride content in tap and hand pumps of nearby villages were found to be between 0.3mg/lt and 14.9 mg/lt against a maximum permissible limit of 1.5mg/lt.”