50 people have been affected by drinking arsenic-contaminated water since 1990. 6 people have already died this year. How much longer will the government wait to provide something as basic as clean drinking water?
In Chamtepara, Khaymari village of Jalangi block in Murshidabad district of West Bengal, people have been suffering from various ailments due to arsenic contamination. Many have died for lack of another source of clean drinking water. Some travel great distances in order to get a few litres of usable water. This has drastically changed the lives of the villagers of Khaymari. The first case of arsenic poisoning was registered back in 1990 and since then, each year more & more lives are lost to unavailability of clean water. 25 years and only a few futile efforts have been made to rectify the situation. Medicines can only help in covering the pain caused from sore feet, damaged stomach lining and skin inflammation or in worse cases, abscess.
-What happened to your family after drinking this water?
-The stomach hurts; sores on the legs also hurt. The skin cracks and pus oozes out. Many boys and girl are affected by this. My sister and brother in law have been affected. My brother in law died of this affliction.
-Has anything been done to solve this problem?
Medicine has been given from the hospital, but the pain hasn't reduced.
Although there is arsenic in the water of Chamtepara, the authorities have done nothing to provide pure drinking water. Villagers have demanded pure water supply from the Public Health engineering department. They promised to supply pure water via pipelines. But till date, no arrangements have been made.
The villagers demand arsenic free pure water so no one dies of arsenic poisoning. The human right to water is indispensable for leading a life in human dignity. It is a prerequisite for the realisation of other human rights.
Please call Kajal Sarkar from the Public Health Engineering department on +91-9434238261 and demand clean water supply for the people of Khaymari.
I am Nesatun Khatun reporting from Murshidabad district of West bengal for IndiaUnheard.
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