Fluoride Action Network

Fluorosis victims lament government indifference

Source: The Times of India | December 18th, 2001
Location: India

KODAD:The problem of fluorosis may be severe in Gondriala village in Kodad mandal of Nalgonda district, but an estimated 1.5 lakh people in 35 other habitations in the area are no strangers to its ill-effects.

Spread over the mandals of Kodad, Nadigudem, Munagala and Chilkur, these habitations have water with high fluoride content. This causes dental and skeletal fluorosis, in many cases crippling people.

What people in these villages are angry about is the indifference of the authorities to their suffering.“How long should we continue to suffer like this?’’ asks Gadara Sanjeeva Rao of Nallagondagudem village in Kodad mandal.

To provide clean and safe drinking water and permanently solve the problem in this region, the state government had prepared a project report that envisaged a solution at a cost of a mere Rs 10.8 crore a few years ago.

The report, however, has been in cold storage since then. “People are suffering due to dental and skeletal fluorosis. Many have been crippled, affecting their families economically,’’ a former engineerin-chief of the panchayati raj department stated, underlining the urgency of implementing the safe drinking water project.

The project report was submitted to the government of India on May 31, 1997 for clearance. A team of officials from the central and state governments inspected all the areas proposed to be covered under the project in June 1997. Following the inspections certain modifications were suggested in the plan.

According to the revised plan, two schemes will make use of the Voilsingaram and Madharam tanks, fed by the Nagarjunasagar reservoir, to supply safe drinking water to the fluorosis-affected habitations.

From the original cost of Rs 13.14 crore, the cost of the project was revised to Rs 10.8 crore. “The government is taking no initiative to implement the Madharam Reservoir Drinking Water Project,’’ alleges Sq Ldr N Uttam Kumar Reddy (retd.), the Congress legislator from Kodad.“ If people are suffering now, even the Congress governments of the past are to be blamed. It is a shame that no government has done anything to bring about a solution to the fluorosis problem,’’ the MLA says.