Two years ago, Nikita Yadav, then 16, suffered from jaundice. Doctors said it was caused by polluted water.
The family lives in Sahraul village, just a kilometre from Gurgaon’s posh DLF-Phase 2 locality, where the groundwater has been contaminated with chrome since 2007.
Residents claim Munjal Showa, a factory that produces shock absorbers for automobile companies, has been pumping untreated effluents back into the ground, a claim the company denied.
Complaints to the Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB) did not help. The angry villagers finally approached Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and environment minister Kiran Chaudhary.
On Thursday, HSPCB chairman Dr A.H. Chahal and his team collected samples of water from the factory and also from borewells in the village.
HSPCB officials confirmed borewells pumping out dark yellow groundwater in houses near the factory have chrome metal content.
“Chrome poisoning can lead to toxicity. Continued consumption of toxic water could lead to stomach ulcers leading to bleeding,” said Dr Ominder Singh, head, department of critical care, Maxhealthcare.
R.K. Arora, general manager of Munjal Showa, said contaminated water was being discharged from dyeing and electroplating units in the village.
“Our factory has installed an effluent treatment plant. Some of the villagers are complaining because of vested interests,” Arora said.
Sahraul headman Naresh Yadav insisted the contamination was because of discharge from the factory.
“Residents have been buying water for Rs 600. When they were drinking the groundwater, many suffered jaundice and stomach ailments. About 10 borewells have been rendered useless,” he said. “Even last year, we had to stop the factory from tossing discharges in a vacant plot nearby.”
Primary investigation into the case suggests the groundwater contains chrome not colour, said Chand Saini, the Gurgaon chief of HSPCB. ”