Nalgonda has one criteria for voting: remove fluorosis

The Dindi Lift project area. DH PHOTO

The undivided Nalgonda of Telangana is probably the only district where the voters will be electing the next government based on a crippling disease called fluorosis.

The politics here is centred on those who promise a district free of this disease. 

While the Congress had brought Krishna river water to the district, the TRS is trying to provide fluorine-free drinking water through taps to every household under Mission Bhagiratha.

The high fluorine content in ground water is the reason why over 1 lakh people were affected by the disease.

While the maximum permissible limit of fluorine in drinking water is 1 milligram per litre, it ranges from 10 mg to 19 mg in many parts of the district.

With the water table sinking day by day, people are pumping water out from depths and drink it knowing that they are consuming poison.

The situation was so bad that the entire Batlapalli village of Marriguda block, where fluoride content was as high as 29 mg per litre, abandoned the village and settled in another place a kilometre away, where the fluoride content in water is around 9 mg.

Today, many villagers in Munugode, Nampally, Marriguda and Devarakonda blocks can be found with crippled limbs, twisted joints, bent spines, disfigured faces, stunted growth and yellowish or brownish enamel.

Farm labourers from Khuda Baksh Palle in Munugode say that many suffered skeletal flourosis rendering them unfit for work.

"After Krishna river water came, the present generation escaped from the crippling problem. Now, the village will have safe water through taps," said Dusari Bhaskar.

However, other villagers say that while the TRS has promised safe water, the Dindi lift project is still incomplete and it might take much longer time for the promise to materialise.

While the TRS is banking on party candidate and ex-MLA Kusukuntla Prabhakar Reddy in the Munugode Assembly segment, under whose leadership Dindi lift irrigation was undertaken at the Sivvannaguda village of Marriguda block, Congress candidate Komati Reddy Rajagopal Reddy is also promising speedy completion of the project.

However, the acquisition of land has divided the people of the segment. While those supporting Congress want increased compensation, those who support TRS blame them for delaying the eradication of fluorosis.

The TRS government is spending Rs 6,200 crore to store and lift 30 tmc feet of water in the reservoir that will serve 4 segments in Nalgonda and 2 segments in neighbouring Mahbubnagar district.

The project is also aimed at providing irrigation to 3.41 lakh acres in both districts.

Siripada Ananda Rao, a farmer, pointed out that work in several parts of the reservoir is halted as the villagers are refusing to vacate their villages. "Villagers are asking for Rs 14 lakh as compensation, while they were offered only Rs 4 lakh," Edla yadaiah said.

He had surrendered 8 acres of his land for the project.

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Nalgonda has one criteria for voting: remove fluorosis

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