Our study on
CRIPPLING FLUOROSIS IN ASSAM

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From our West Bengal and Bangladesh experience on arsenic contamination in groundwater, we have seen that if geological condition are similar then there is a possibility that near by districts will also be affected. We applied this knowhow to the district of Nagaon which is adjacent to KarbiAnglong, and immediately found a large number of fluoride patients in village Akshi Ganga, Haldhiaty. The young man Mr. Gokul Bora of Haldhiaty village told us that during the last few years he went to dentists many times and no dentist told him that his teeth problem was related to fluoride in his drinking water (fluoride in drinking water 4.9 µg/l). He further told that he feels more than 80% of population in his village have similar dental problem.

The total population of Assam is 22 million and of seven northeastern states is approximately 33 million. We do not know actually how many are drinking fluoride or other toxins from drinking water and how many are really suffering.

Table-4 shows the fluoride content of four water supply schemes in Karbi-Anglong district (Photograp-13). None of them is suitable for drinking because of the level of fluoride in the supplied water. So far the higest concentration of fluoride 15.04 µg/l has been found in Languit ground water supply scheme.

Table-4 Fluoride in Public Water Supply Schemes Karbi-Anglong, Assam

Water Supply Schemes (groundwater) Depth (in metre) Approximate people drinking water Fluoride concentration in µg/l
Kherani 60.9 3000-4000 3.44
Languit 76.2 4000-5000 (A Big Bazar is also using the water) 15.40
Dokmoka (from overhead tank) 135 4000-5000 (A Big Bazar is also using the water) 2.80
Dokmoka (before going to overhead tank) 135 4000-5000 (A Big Bazar is also using the water) 2.78
Manja (Growing area) 79.2 4000-5000 1.58

I am asking the Rajiv Gandhi National Drinking Water Mission to explain on the basis of what information had they reported that in the 7 northeastern states, "disease not detected yet", when villagers in Karbi-Anglong and Nagaon districts are complaining, at least for last 20 years, that many are suffering from a crippling disease and many have undidentified dental problems. I am asking the Assam government also why they did not check their underground public water supply schemes for fluoride and other toxins when Lunguit water supply scheme is supplying fluoride as high as 15 µg/l.

Groundwater fluoride contamination and suffering was known for last 6 decades and arsenic came to limelight 2 decades ago still we do not test the quality of water we drink.

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