KAKINADA: High fluoride content in drinking water is crippling Boddavaram village of Kotananduru mandal in East Godavari district.

Bone deformities, yellowing of teeth, joint pains and general weakness, caused by fluorosis are seen in many villagers.

Due to this, the locals have stopped consuming the water supplied from the protected drinking water scheme.

Instead, they are drinking water collected from the Tandava river bed.

“Most of the students in my village are suffering from joint and knee pains. Earlier, I could carry three pots on my head.

Today, I am finding it difficult to carry even one,” said Seeta Mahila Shakthi Sangham president Rapeti Seethayamma.

“The borewell of the protected water scheme has been in use for the last nine years. But, it is only now that we are facing the problem,” said Vegi Suryanarayana of the village.

He said some villagers got the water tested in a lab in Vizag and found high fluoride content in it.

The villagers submitted several representations to the government. They had even petitioned to chief minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy during his Rajiv Palle Bata and Praja Patham.

When contacted, Rural Water Supply Scheme (RWS) Kathipudi division deputy executive engineer GVSS Prasad denied that the fluoride content was high in the drinking water.

He said the water samples were tested four times and the test reports revealed that there was 1.22 parts per million of fluoride during the winter and 1.48 ppm in summer.

He said 1.50 ppm is the tolerable level. Yet, a site has been identified for sinking a borewell in the village to address the problem.

He however admitted that the fluoride content in neighbouring villages was high. In Ravikampadu of the same mandal, the fluoride content is around 2.5 ppm.

Several villages in the district, mostly in upland areas, are found to have high fluoride content in ground water.

According to rural water scheme quality testing lab officials, some sites in villages like Bhavavaram (1.77 ppm), Kandregula (1.5) in Jaggampet mandal, Boddavaram (1.46 ppm);

Balaramapuram (2.0 ppm), Thimmarajupet (1.38 ppm) in Kotananduru mandal, H Kothur (1.95 ppm), J Venkatapuram (hamlet of Tetagunta, 1.96 ppm) and Gavarapet (1.92 ppm) in Tuni mandal, Singarampalem (2.0 ppm), NT Rajapuram (1.60 ppm);

Mallepalli (2.2 ppm), K Gopalapuram (2.30 ppm), Uppalapadu (1.58 ppm) and Z Ragampet (2.0 ppm) in Gandepalli mandal have high fluoride content.

The RWS officials have sunk bores in areas where the fluoride is within tolerable limits in these villages.