Gaya: Water, water everywhere and not a single drop to drink! Many of us may have read this English phrase several times, but for the residents Banke Bazar in Gaya, it summarises their plight, making survival their toughest challenge.

The alarming levels fluoride content in the water has made these residents too scared to take a sip of water available to them. The contaminated water has caused physical deformities and has resulted in acceleration of the ageing process of the villagers.

The ever-increasing pollution of potable water in different parts of the State is leading to contaminated water. Arsenic groundwater pollution is reported in 12 districts of Bihar located in the flood plains of the river Ganga.

Today, there are a large number of children who are compelled to use sticks as crutches for walking in the Banke Bazar, Thana, Gaya. The overdose of fluoride in drinking water, has crippled them for life. Not just the children, the old-aged are also confronting the brunt.

“The water we drink is crippling us. Children are severely affected by the contaminated water. Nobody wants their sons and daughters to get to our children,” said Dhaneshwar Singh, a resident.

The residents complain that the accelerated age problem combined with deformities has caused them social neglect from the neighbourhood towns. The youngsters are facing marital problems. It is feared that the next generation will be also born with disabilities.

“When the infants are born, they are in proper health, it is when they grow a little old the come in the start suffering from various deformities. Their legs get crippled. This is happening for the last 8-10 years. Now old people are also suffering because of the contaminated water,” said Mani Devi, another resident.

The villagers complain of ignorance and neglect of the State Government.

Meanwhile, the Government officials say they have provided the villagers with water filter and sent the water samples to laboratory for testing.

“We are sending water samples for testing after receiving complaints from various districts. Our government is ensuring that the matter is taken care of properly. We will ensure all help in Banke Bazar area,” said Prem Kumar from Public Health and Engineering department.

The amount of fluoride detected in groundwater at Hardia village of Nawada district and Khaira village of Munger district has been found to be as high as 4.3 ppm, against the permissible limit of 1.5 part per million (ppm).

The State government is, however, claiming that all the water related problems will be addressed and solved by the next financial year.