Fluoride Action Network

Fluorosis keeps brides off Hateda village

Source: The Times of India | July 11th, 2013 | By Amarjeet Singh
Location: India

BHOPAL: Nawab Singh Rawat, 47, of Hateda a non-descript village of Shivpuri district hails from a well to do family and is healthy- except that like most other youths from the village he too has failed to get a match and continues to be a forced bachelor. The village has about 100 bachelors out of a population of 1,200.

The reason- no one wants to marry their daughters or kin in to the village that is known to be affected by fluorosis – a disease caused by contaminated water and high levels of fluorine that affects the teeth and bone of people consuming it.

Hateda is just one of the 1,600 habitations falling in 27 districts of the state, whose residents are forced to drink water contaminated with high levels of fluorine.

Our village (Hateda) has earned a bad name due to fluorosis, said Nawab Singh Rawat talking to TOI over telephone.

“Due to the fear no one wants to marry their daughters to youths from the village. They fear that like in the past, youths 30 years of age will start bending down as their bones become week and their teeth would turn yellow due to the disease,” said Nawab Singh.

“Even if you are not suffering from the disease it’s the fear that prevents people from marrying kin to youths from this village,” he added.

In the past officials of public health engineering department laid down water supply pipe lines and safe water was brought from a distant place. “Things improved after this, but again for the last 10 years it’s not working,” Rawat said.

Sarpanch of the village Kedar Singh Rawat said, “We have made numerous requests and given petitions to all the concerning officials but in vain”.

“Even today marriage of a groom is a herculean task in our village because of the fear of fluorosis. It is quite genuine – who would want to give his daughter to anyone whose body bends after he is thirty,” said the sarpanch.

“It is a scam of PHE officials who are drawing government money in the name of water supply,” alleged Kedar Singh.

However officials of the janpad panchayat admitted fluorosis cases in the village claiming that at times water has been found with high level of fluorine.

Chief executive officer of Narwar Janpad Panchayat, under which this village falls, A P Prajapati said, “There may be some technical issues that had affected water supply. Hateda along with other three villages come under Nal Jal Yojna and as water of these villages is not potable water supply is made under the yojana.”

“If there is any complaint we will check it out,” he added.

Superintending engineer of the public health engineering (PHE) department (monitoring cell), A K Jain said that as on April 1, 2013 there were 1,626 such villages in the 27 districts of the state. Of them we have been able to identify and solve problems in 89 such habitations and we aim to cover all by the settlements by year end.

He couldn’t explain if the problem was solved in only 89 habitations in three months how 1,600 habitations would be provided safe drinking water in the remaining few months on the year.