NALHATI, May 17: The fluoride-affected people of Nashipur village under the Nalhati-I block in Birbhum are slowly dying.

Although the government has made many assurances, people are not provided with the necessary treatments and safe water. Even the CPI-M led previous board of Baoutia panchayat failed to give hope to the affected people. For 16 years many villagers have been suffering from ailments such as tooth decay, limb deformities, skin diseases, nervous breakdowns and bending of the spinal chord.

Fluoride-victims Partha Let, Susanta Let and Durga Das said they have already spent a lot of money for treatment The doctors who failed to prescribe proper medication said the diseases occurred due to water pollution.

In 1997, following the reports published in newspapers, the state government became aware of the situation and a team of doctors was sent to the village to examine the water. The team collected water samples from many sources and they reported the water layer of that area contains fluoride. The state government ceased all work to dig tube wells and said drinking water from the village wells was unsafe. The government also built up a deep tube well in the river that flows near Tarapith. Rs 19 lakh were allotted for that project to give safe water to the villagers of Nashipur.

Although the project was launched people are not provided with safe water till today. As there is no proper supply of electricity it was not possible to get safe water.

The villagers are forced to drink the fluoride-contaminated water of the tube wells. Many people, not only in the Nashipur village but in adjoining villages like Bhabananandapur, Shialpur and Nachphari have become victims.

The villagers alleged that as water is directly supplied from the river without purification due to the shortage of electricity, the water contains worms, insects and iron particles. Mr Habol Mondal, a victim said: “We have appealed to the government many times for safe water but till today no reservoir has been constructed. We only get false assurances.”