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NHRC issues notice to Centre, states, UTs on fluorosis cases across India

ANI | Updated: Dec 23, 2020 19:58 IST

New Delhi [India], December 23 (ANI): The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Wednesday issued notice to the Centre, states, and Union Territories over fluorosis cases across the country.
The commission sought detailed reports from the secretary, Department of Science and Technology, Government of India; and secretaries of the Ministry of Water Resources and state and UT Water Resources Department with a time-bound plan to eliminate fluoride from the contaminated drinking water. It also requested the director general, Indian Council of Medical Research, and director general, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, to submit a report, stating the ways for removal of fluoride from drinking water, said a press release.
A warning notice was also issued to the district collector and district magistrate, Naupada, Odisha, for the lackadaisical attitude in the submission of a report on a seven-year-old case of drinking water and tackling the issue of fluorosis. The commission passed the order recently mentioning the issue as gross, grave and gigantic, raised by Supreme Court advocate and human rights activist Radhakanta Tripathy.

The commission sought detailed reports from all the authorities latest by February 8, 2021.
Tripathy, in his petition and rejoinder, raised the issue of fluorosis, a water-borne disease due to excessive fluoride in drinking water, which is not only a medical problem but also a socio-economic issue. A person affected by it becomes weak and his earning capacity goes down. The issue of fluorosis is not confined to one part of the country, but prevalent all over India.
Considering the earlier similar cases and the present case filed by Tripathy, the commission also sought to know why Odisha is so "lethargic" in the issue of contaminated drinking water, causing the deadly disease of fluorosis in a seven-year-old matter where 14 proceedings have been held with three warning notices. The poverty alleviation and access to clean drinking water and sanitation remain the two pressing problems, India has been facing since independence, the NHRC observed.
Water-related diseases cause irreparable lose and damage to families, Tripathy said.
"Every citizen is entitled to safe, sufficient, affordable and accessible drinking water that is adequate for individual requirements for drinking, consumption, household sanitation, food preparation, and hygiene. The NHRC observed that in 1934, excessive content of fluorides in drinking water was noticed in western countries like the USA. The investigations made since 1934 in India reported the peculiar disease "Skeletal Fluorosis" in parts of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Kerala, Maharashtra, Punjab, and Tamil Nadu," the NHRC said. (ANI)