A large number of villagers of Sonbhadra village in Uttar Pradesh are suffering from fluorosis due to the excessive fluoride content in the ground water that these villages draw to drink.
They are facing the risk of becoming handicapped due to excessive fluorosis Chopan, Dudhi and Myorpur and Babhni Blocks. The excessive fluoride in water has given rise to several orthopaedic problems.
"Water is the main problem in our village. Earlier, we didn't have any hand pump or well in our village. People used to drink water from open streams and have consequently become victims of deformities and diseases," said Shambhu Prasad Patel, a villager.
Majority of the affected persons have to work hard to earn their daily bread. With weak bones, none of them is able to toil.
Since the villages are isolated, these hapless rural folk have no easy access to public health services. With some of them forced to travel over 50 kilometres for a public health centre and a hospital.
Authorities of the State Health Department however claim that health camps are being set up for the villagers.
"This problem is prevalent in nine villages of three blocks of the district because of excessive fluoride content in water. We have provided every facility for the treatment of the people who are handicapped or are suffering from any disease due to water," said Dr. Ganesh Prasad, Chief Medical Officer of Sonbhadra District.
Another grouse of the villagers is that the government is not showing any concern as not even ten percent of the affected and handicapped persons have been issued certificates that they are handicapped.
Villagers hope that the concerned officials in the administration will take effective steps to stem the rot.
Fluorosis is a condition caused by the excessive intake of fluorine and is commonly of two types - Skeletal Fluorosis and Dental Fluorosis. As the names suggest, it first affects the bones due to excessive accumulation of fluoride in bones and the latter affects the teeth.