Nayagarh: Fluoride-laced drinking water at Putubari village of Bhogbadi panchayat under Dasapalla block in Nayagarh district poses a threat to the villagers who are mostly Dalits.
The most noticeable problem the villagers are suffering is premature aging.
Putubari village has a population of 109, comprising of 20 families belonging to Dalit communities. They earn their livelihood chiefly by making and selling bamboo products like winnowing fans, handheld fans, baskets, etc. in nearby markets.
The residents allege that drinking water problem in their village is perennial. “There were two tube wells. Two wells (Nanda Kua) were dug up later. The water we draw from the wells is fit for consumption but the two wells are not enough to meet the daily requirement. These wells go dry in winter season, making the summers difficult for us,” they alleged.
“The two tube wells dispense fluoride-laced water. Initially, we could not understand why we are suffering from joint pains and our teeth getting discoloured. Only when the water was tested, we came to learn that there were traces of fluoride in the water,” they added.
According to Jagannath Parichha, when they didn’t have tube wells, they used to use water from the wells. “With the passage of time, the level of groundwater started to deplete. Faced with acute drinking water crisis, we started using tube well water. Now fluorosis disease has emerged as a major concern for us,” Parichha observed.
Surendra Mantri, another villager, joined Parichha and said, “Among others, Puja Gantayat (9), Badal Gantayat (10), Akash Behera (10), Goutam Mantri (13) and Shakti Mantri (12) are suffering from fluorosis disease. If the government finds a solution to our drinking water problem, then we don’t need to consume fluoride-laced water. Apart from drinking water problem, we don’t have a pucca road to our village either. In the past, we took our issues up with the administration on several occasions but to no avail. It seems that the disease has been forced upon us.”