As many as 36 people have died of skull fluorosis in Jharkhand's Pratapur village over the past one decade, according to NDTV. The disease, caused by fluoride contamination in groundwater, was first recorded in 1998 in the area. The government conducted a survey in 2000, but no steps have been taken yet to deal with the problem.
In the village in Garhwa, the Dalits are the most affected, according to the report. As many as 30 families have at least one member either lost or affected by the disease. "It's because of the fluoride in the water. Everyone in my family is affected. Many have even died. I do not think the government has done anything concrete to help," said the husband of a victim who has been battling the disease for the past three years.
Patients infected with the disease suffer for years as fluoride makes their bones deformed and brittle, which then leads to death. According to doctors, the disease does not have a cure yet. The region has levels of fluoride seven times more than what is permissible and is considered the most contaminated area in the state. Of the twelve handpumps in the hamlet, only two have fluoride filters.
"The situation is alarming in many parts of the panchayat. We have mapped out all the areas and we are installing fluoride filters in all hand pumps in the area. We also have a piped water supply but population expands every year and so an extension of the pipeline scheme is also in process," Neha Arora, a senior government official in Garwah, told the news channel. She said the administration are also planning to set up a plant to filter water in the region.