The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) today asked Jharkhand government to take measures in fluorosis-hit villages of Garhwa district and submit an action taken report within six weeks.

NHRC has found physical deformities in a large number of villagers due to high fluoride content in water in Pratappur, Darmi and Parsi villages of Garhwa district in Jharkhand where clean drinking water is scarce, officials said.

Keeping in view the seriousness of the problem, it has asked Garhwa District Municipality to supply two tankers of drinking water daily in these villages without further delay.

According to a statement issued today, the Commission has asked the state government through its Chief Secretary to submit a status report within six weeks on the urgent implementation of the short-term measures suggested by its Special Rapporteur S Jalaja.

The Commission noticed that supply of drinking water is not very effective in Garhwa as the district municipality supplied only one tanker of water in the area instead of the required two tanker loads. This too, continued only for eight days and thereafter it was stopped, the statement said.

NHRC had taken suo motu cognisance of the problem of high content of fluoride in water in these areas in 2011. The matter was inquired into by an expert team constituted by the Ministry of Drinking Water, Sanitation and Rural Development whose report was sent to the Jharkhand government for taking action.

However the commission was not satisfied with the Action Taken Report given by Jharkhand and referred the matter to Dr Satyanarayana of Public Health Foundation for an expert opinion. On his advice, the Commission asked its Special Rapporteur S Jalaja to visit the place and submit a comprehensive report.