INDIA: Telangana minister tweets state is fluorosis-free

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INDIA: Telangana minister tweets state is fluorosis-free

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Telangana minister tweets state is fluorosis-free, cites Centre’s report

However, Fluorosis Vimochana Samithi, an NGO working in Nalgonda’s affected areas, said the problem still persisted in several villages.

Hindustan Times - September 18, 2020

By Srinivasa Rao Apparasu

The Telangana government on Friday claimed that the state has become free of fluorosis, a bone-crippling disease, that has ruined thousands of lives over the decades due to contamination of water with high fluoride content.

Quoting a report of the Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation, tabled by the central government in Parliament on Thursday, Telangana municipal administration minister KT Rama Rao tweeted that Telangana, along with Gujarat and Uttarakhand, had been declared a fluorosis-free state with zero affected areas.

“No of Fluoride affected villages at the time of formation of #Telangana was 967. After the successful implementation of the Mission Bhagiratha, the number has come down to Zero. This is an excerpt from an official statement in parliament by Govt of India,” the minister tweeted.

Mission Bhagiratha is a flagship programme introduced in the state in 2015, aimed at providing piped safe potable drinking water to every household. Special focus was laid on providing safe drinking water to villages where the fluoride content in the water was high.

Nalgonda in Telangana was the worst-affected district due to the disease that affects bones and teeth.

Over one lakh people are suffering due to fluorosis in villages such as Munugode, Nampally, Marriguda and Devarakonda that have high fluoride content in water.

The Indian Natural Resource Economic and Management (INREM) Foundation, which conducted a survey in the fluoride-affected villages of Nalgonda, declared this February that there had been no new cases of fluorosis in the district in the last six years.

INREM director Dr Rajnarayan Indu said the intensity of the disease had come down due to supply of safe drinking water under Mission Bhagiratha. He suggested that focus should be laid now on setting up Fluoride Rehabilitation Centre in all Primary Health Centres (PHCs) of all fluoride-affected blocks.

However, Fluorosis Vimochana Samithi, an NGO working in Nalgonda’s affected areas, said the problem still persisted in several villages.

“Successive governments have taken measures such as setting up of reverse osmosis and mineral water bottling plants in some villages and installation of defluoridation plants. But what about the groundwater? It still contains a high quantity of fluoride that enters the body through food,” Samithi convenor Kanchukatla Subhash said.

He pointed out that one can still notice several people with crippled limbs, twisted joints, bent spine, stunted growth and yellowish or brownish enamel on their teeth. “We don’t want symptomatic treatment for a chronic disease. We want a permanent solution,” Subhash said.

Congress MLA from Munugode assembly constituency Komatireddy Rajagopal Reddy said the credit for Telangana fluorosis-free state would go to the Congress and not the TRS.

“During the Congress regime itself, systems were established for supply of Krishna water to all the affected villages. What the TRS government had done was only to take the water to the houses through pipes. Even this project is not complete,” he said.

The permanent solution, according to Subhash, is to complete the Srisailam Left Bank Canal project, which will lift water from Srisailam reservoir, which would provide irrigation to three lakh acres of agricultural lands and drinking water to 516 villages, including the fluoride-hit villages of Nalgonda district.

“The project, which began in 2005, has come to a halt. There is no sign of the project being completed in the near future,” Subhash said.

SOURCE: ... befCK.html
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