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INDIA: Government sleeps over 386 confirmed cases of Fluorosis in Sonebhadra district of Uttar Pradesh state

The Gram Swarajya Samithi conducted a survey in nine villages located in Chopan, Dudhi and Myorpur blocks and identified the cases mentioned above. There are are concerns that at least 36,000 persons will soon become handicapped in the very near future if nothing is done to improve the situation. On an earlier initiative by the Samithi, scientists from the Indian Council for Medical Research lead by Dr. Chandra Kumar Dolla and Dr. Surendra Kumar took samples of water from the tube-wells of the region for detailed tests between 20 and 24 July 2004. Though the results of the tests were not made available after several requests by the Samithi, they were informed that the tests conducted by the scientists revealed that the fluoride content in the water samples showed at levels at least five to six times the normal values.

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ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION - URGENT APPEALS PROGRAM

26 January 2007
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HA-001-2007: INDIA: Government sleeps over 386 confirmed cases of Fluorosis in Sonebhadra district of Uttar Pradesh state

INDIA: Violation of right to health; negligence of the government; caste discrimination; un-rule of law
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Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) was informed by the Gram Swarajya Samithi, a local human rights organisation in Sonebhadra district, Uttar Pradesh state in India, that thousands of children and adults are facing the risk of becoming handicapped due to Fluorosis. A recent survey conducted by this local group reveals that at least 386 people, out of whom 98 are children, are now handicapped due to Fluorosis. Fluorosis is a condition that affect humans due to uncontrolled consumption of fluorides through water or inhalation through polluted air. Once affected by Fluorosis, the person’s bones and teeth gets damaged permanently. We call for your urgent intervention into this case. Please write to the Indian authorities as well as the World Health Organization (WHO) office in India demanding their immediate action to improve this situation.?

CASE DETAILS:

The Gram Swarajya Samithi conducted a survey in nine villages located in Chopan, Dudhi and Myorpur blocks and identified the cases mentioned above. There are are concerns that at least 36,000 persons will soon become handicapped in the very near future if nothing is done to improve the situation. On an earlier initiative by the Samithi, scientists from the Indian Council for Medical Research lead by Dr. Chandra Kumar Dolla and Dr. Surendra Kumar took samples of water from the tube-wells of the region for detailed tests between 20 and 24 July 2004. Though the results of the tests were not made available after several requests by the Samithi, they were informed that the tests conducted by the scientists revealed that the fluoride content in the water samples showed at levels at least five to six times the normal values.

The villagers affected by Fluorosis are from various scheduled tribes and castes in Uttar Pradesh, including Urau, Dhangar, Chero, Buyiya, Gond and Chamar. Fluorosis also has a reportedly sociological impact within the local community. People refuse to enter into marital relationships with persons from the above regions. The people from this region being manual labourers find it difficult to get jobs since they are physically weak. Even if they find a job they suffer injuries in work due to weak bones.

The region being dry throughout most of the year depends on deep water tube wells for their water supply which the government has constructed in the past. Public services like a public health centre and a hospital are 55 kilometers away from the villages in these areas. The district head quarters is situated 75 kilometers away and is also out of reach for the villagers. The Samithi had approached the Uttar Pradesh state government asking for intervention to study the problem and to come up with solutions for the last ten years but has received no positive result from the government.

It is also alleged that only less than 10% affected and handicapped persons have received a certificate from the government showing that they are handicapped. Such a certificate means a lot for the villagers since without such a certificate they are not entitled for any benefits provided by the government for handicapped persons, particularly education for the children and primary health care. It is alleged that the certificates were denied due to gross corruption the government offices, particularly in the health department which is to issue the certificates.


SUGGESTED ACTION:
Please immediate write to the relevant local authorities as well as the WHO and demand their urgent intervention into this matter.

To support this appeal, please click:

Sample letter:

Dear ________,

INDIA: Government sleeps over 386 confirmed cases of Fluorosis in Sonebhadra district of Uttar Pradesh state

Location: 9 villages comprised in Chopan, Dudhi and Myorpur blocks in Sonebhadra district, Uttar Pradesh state, India
Persons affected: At least 386 people, out of which 98 are children, who are handicapped due to Fluorosis

I was informed by the Gram Swarajya Samithi, a local human rights organisation in Sonebhadra district, Uttar Pradesh state in India, about thousands of children and adults who are facing the risk of becoming handicapped due to Fluorosis in nine villages comprised in Chopan, Dudhi and Myorpur blocks in Sonebhadra district. I was informed that this local group identified at least 386 people, out of which 98 are children, who have turned handicapped due to Fluorosis. I am also concerned about the research result of this local group that at least 36,000 persons will soon become handicapped in the very near future if no action taken to improve the situation. It is reported that the fluoride content in the water samples from the tube-wells in the region showed at least five to six times of the normal values.

I am particularly concerned that those who are heavily affected by Fluorosis are a vulnerable sector of the society including various scheduled tribes and castes such as Urau, Dhangar, Chero, Buyiya, Gond and Chamar. Due to this problem, villagers in the said region are often rejected in marriage and as manual labourers in the region they suffer from injuries in work due to weak bones. Despite such problems, the villagers in the region have little access to public health services as a public health centre and a hospital is located 55 kilometers away from the villages.

I am also concerned by long silence from the Uttar Pradesh state government regarding this matter. I was informed that although the Samithi has asked the state government to study the problem and to find solutions for the last ten years, no positive response has come out from the sate government.

Another concern is that only less than 10% affected and handicapped persons have allegedly received a government certificate for handicapped people. The villagers who could not receive this certificate are further deprived of getting any government's assistance, particularly education for the children and primary health care.

In light of above, I request you to ensure that the seriousness of Fluorosis in the said areas is studied immediately and that the Uttar Pradesh state government adopts effective solutions for this matter. I also urge you to ensure that a government certificate for handicapped people is issued to all the handicapped persons in the areas so that they can access the government assistance for their health care and education for the children.?Furthermore, immediate food and health care assistance must be provided to the handclapped 386 persons, as well as the hundreds of other villagers whose livelihood are significantly affected by Fluorosis. I further request the international organizations including the World Health Organization (WHO) to look into this matter and provide assistance to those affected.

Yours truly,


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PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTER TO:

1. Dr. Anbumani Ramadoss
Minister of Health & Family Welfare
Government of India
Nirman Bhavan,
New Delhi 110 011
INDIA
Tel: +91 11 2306 1647, 2306 1751, 2306 1661
E-mail: hfm@alpha.nic.in

2. Mr. Mulayam Singh Yadav
Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh
Chief Minister's Secretariat
Lucknow
Uttar Pradesh
INDIA
Fax: + 91 52 2223 0002 / 2223 9234

3. Chairperson
National Human Rights Commission of India
Faridkot House, Copernicus Marg
New Delhi-110001
INDIA
Tel: + 91 11 23074448
E-mail: chairnhrc@nic.in

4. The National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes
Government of India
5th Floor, Loknayak Bhawan
Khan Market
New Delhi 110003
INDIA
Tel: + 91 11 2462 0435
Fax: + 91 11 2462 5378

5. Mr. Jean Zeigler
UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food
c/o Mr. Carlos Villan Duran
Room 4-066, OHCHR, Palais Wilson,
Rue des Paquis 52, Geneva
SWITZERLAND
Tel: +41 22 917 9300
Fax: +41 22 9179010

6. Dr. S.J. Habayeb
The WHO Representative
Office of the WHO Representative India
Rooms 533-535, 'A' Wing
Nirman Bhawan
Maulana Azad Road
New Delhi
110011
INDIA
Tel: +91 11 2306 1955, 2306 2179, 2306 3632, 2306 1993
FAX: +91 11 2301 2450
E-mail: wrindia@whoindia.org

7. Dr Samlee Plianbangchang
Regional Office for South-East Asia
World Health House
Indraprastha Estate
Mahatama Gandhi Marg
New Delhi 110 002
INDIA
Tel: +91 11 2337 0804
Fax: +91 11 2337 9507, 23379395, 23370197
E-mail: pandeyh@whosea.org


Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (ahrchk@ahrchk.org)

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