In Uddanam region of Srikakulam district in north coastal Andhra, popular Telugu actor and Jana Sena party chief Pawan Kalyan asked the Andhra Pradesh government to address the high prevalence of kidney-related diseases in 48 hours.
He visited the region and interacted with patients, including women and children. Moved by their plight, he asked the government to spell out within 48 hours how it proposes to help the victims.
‘A team of experts from the US visited the region for an in-depth analysis, but could not identify the causes for the problem.’
Pawan said the party had formed a committee to study the problems, and he would meet the Chief Minister with the committee's report within 15 days.
The actor said if the government and public representatives failed to respond, the Jana Sena will launch a public movement on the issue.
He said successive government failed to address the issue despite large number of people dying of kidney-related ailments in one region.
Pawan said now that the banks have a lot of money following demonetisation, it should be spent to solve the serious problem in Uddanam. He demanded that the government allocates at least Rs 100 crore for the cause.
"Thousands of crore are being spent for building the state capital, but nothing is being spent in a region where people are dying," said the Jana Sena founder. Stating that setting up dialysis centres is not a solution, he said efforts should be made to find out the causes and prevent the disease.
Pawan visited the area a day after tweeting that over 20,000 people of all age groups have died of chronic kidney diseases in the region during the last two decades.
"Currently lakhs are affected with this chronic kidney disease known as 'Uddanam Nephropathy'. Successive governments and honourable legislative members of the last two decades could not address this issue effectively," he tweeted.
The party's media team documented sufferings of the people. According to the World Health Organization, Uddanam is one of the three regions in the world with the highest concentration of chronic kidney diseases.
Just before Pawan's visit, state Health Minister Kamineni Srinivas in a statement said the government has identified kidney patients in eight mandals of the district.
According to the statement, a team of experts from the US visited the region for an in-depth analysis, but could not identify the causes for the problem.
He said water samples from the region were sent to a research organisation at Mumbai, which is also studying the food habits of the people and the environment. The government expects the results soon.
The minister said two dialysis centres were already functioning in Srikakulam and Tekkali while another centre will be opened in Palakonda on January 5. The Health Minister said if necessary, the government was ready to set up another dialysis centre in the region.