The Fluorosis affected Kachariadih village in Nawada district, about eight kms from the headquarters of Rajauli sub-division in the district, has been facing a peculiar social problem for the last three years.
Parents of girls of marriageable age here are finding it difficult to get bridegrooms for their daughters. About 80 per cent of the population is disabled due to the high fluoride content in the drinking water.
“Who will marry the girls from this village after knowing the condition of the people here,” said Dr SP Singh, a doctor in the sub-divisional hospital, Rajauli.
“Most of the girls of marriageable age are afflicted with fluorosis. Considering that marriages in the countryside are solemnised at an early age, there must be around 75-100 girls in the village who are waiting to find a bridegroom,” said Professor K K Singh and Neeraj Kumar, of the Department of Environmental Sciences, AN College, which conducted a study on fluoride content in the village water.
Deprived of their childhood even before they could walk, the children, mostly Dalits, of Kachhariadih village have been crippled by fluorosis.
“The fluoride content in water tested at most of the places in the village is 3 PPM, which is much above the permissible level of 1 PPM. Out of 12 hand pumps in the village, all of them had fluoride content in excess of the normal quantity,” said the members of the A N College team.
However, Dr Singh of Rajauli speaks of much higher content. “It’s more than 8 PPM,” he said. “Even goats in the village are seen with deformity,” said Neeraj Kumar.
Not only that, the team that surveyed water contents of Rajauli police station, SDPO office, SDM office, Rajauli block, etc., was surprised to find fluoride contents there as well. “I have become physically challenged due to contaminated water. Both my legs and hands are very weak. I can neither walk nor go to school,” said Pankaj Kumar, a child.
Villagers say that despite repeated promises over the last 15 years, the government has done nothing to treat the water they drink.
“The government had made a water tank but we are not getting any water supply. We are forced to drink the contaminated water due to lack of safe drinking water,” said Sudamia Devi.
Safe water indeed continues to be a pipedream. Though a water tower had been built and a pump installed there, lack of power had rendered it useless.
Vijay Swaroop Email: firstname.lastname@example.org