Pradeep Pattanayak

Both the central and state governments have launched schemes to provide safe drinking water. But it seems these schemes have detoured Patripala village under Remuna in Balasore. In the absence of a safe drinking water source, the residents here are forced to drink water with high amounts of fluoride and suffer from various diseases. 

The Patripala villagers are left with no other option but to fall back on a lone bore well that was set up years ago. 

From the looks of the bore well, one can easily guess how old it is and how long it has not been maintained. Worse, it dispenses water with high fluoride content.  This borewell has become a bane of the villagers. 

Consuming water with high fluoride content for years, almost all the villagers are suffering from one disease or another. Youths are suffering from premature aging. 

Meet Katia Jena, a resident of Patripala village. Once she used to live a healthy life. But from the day when her neck got bent to the side due to the impact of fluoride consumption, her mobility has been restricted. 

“First, I felt pains in my joints. Despite being on medicines, it became severe,” said Katia. 

The residents of 8 to 10 villages under Patripala Panchayat are suffering from the same problem. 

Also Read: Forgotten promises! People across Odisha grapple with acute drinking water crisis

The situation has come to such a pass that people are reluctant to marry off their daughters in these villages. 

According to health experts, the consumption of water with fluoride content gives rise to several ailments. 

“If any source of drinking water has mineral content more than its permissible limits, it will cause harm. Besides awareness, immediate steps should be taken to address the problem,” said Dr Santanu Das. 

It is not that the villagers haven’t taken the problem up with the district administration and the state government. They have requested them but to no avail. 

“The villagers should have been provided pure drinking water from nearby areas. It will be probed why drinking water is not being supplied to them?” said Remuna MLA, Sudhansu Sekhar Parida. 

After coming to know about the plight of the villagers, Balasore MP Pratap Sarangi said, “I will visit the affected village to see for myself and take steps to address the issue.”

(Reported by Prakash Mohanty)