Jajpur/Binjharpur: As many as 5,000 people living in villages under Olei-Chandanpur panchayat of Binjharpur block in Jajpur district have been suffering from the toxic effects of fluoride-mixed water for the last 70 years.
Lack of potable water facilities in their villages has been forcing the residents there to drink the toxic water. All their pleas to the district administration and the public representatives have gone unanswered. A recent survey has pointed out to the presence of 5.08 mg of fluoride in every litre of water.
The constant use of fluoride water has changed the colour of their teeth and many are stated to be suffering from knee and joint problems. The district rural and water sanitation department, except conducting periodical surveys, has done little to address the villagers’ problems.
Sources said the villages under the Olei-Chandanpur panchayat have been left high and dry despite being situated about 26 km from the district headquarters and 8 km from block headquarters of Binjharpur. Many of the villages like Chandanpur, Harisinghpur, Olei, Olei-Chandanpur and Pandasahi are located close to the banks of Kharasrota River.
Sarpanch Soubhgya Kumar Mohapatra has alleged that they have been using the toxic fluoride water for generations due to lack of any alternative source of drinking water in their villages.
The constant use of the water has resulted in formation of dark stains on their teeth while food tastes bad and its colour changes abruptly due to use of this water in cooking. The administration is laying stress only on construction of deep bore wells. But they start yielding fluoride water after two to three years of use.
When contacted, executive engineer Amiya Kumar Parija said a proposal has been submitted to the engineer-in-chief for piped drinking water from the river. The initial survey for the project has been completed. PNN