Leaders for change

Members of Parliament assemble for Water quality issues
Leaders for change

Very often, it becomes easy to blame politicians, anywhere in the world, and surely so in India. But we fail to see the honest and hardworking ones who really care about their constituents. So when 15-20 Members of Parliament (MP) together come forward and request for action on the issue, it needs to be appreciated.

Thanks to Swaniti Initiative, a young Delhi based group, a face-to-face meeting with MPs was organized on December 10 with support from Arghyam. We had members cutting across parties and from Fluoride and Arsenic affected states across India.

Listening to the work being done on Fluoride and Arsenic issues in India, the MPs came forward with some particular requests to work in their constituencies. One such request was from Mr R K Jena, the MP from Balasore in Odisha, that is affected with high Fluoride in drinking water.

Responding to this request, a group from the Fluoride network visited Balasore in mid-January. In a district which does not even figure on National water quality database for Fluoride, we find severe Skeletal fluorosis cases, bedridden, and others in complete pain throughout the body. However, it was clear from the condition of people and water quality records done at different institutions that people have been suffering for the past 10-15 years, perhaps more.

The problem continues in Balasore, as is evident from children’s teeth that are affected with dental fluorosis. What is clear is that some help needs to be put forward immediately.

The forthcoming attitude of the MP and MLAs of Balasore on the Fluorosis problem clearly came out during the District DLVMC meeting on Jan 22. Along with all line departments of the districts, an outline of a converged action is beginning to be formed.

More such action is needed from People’s representatives across India on the Fluorosis issue. Right from village Gram Panchayat members to MLAs and MPs, we all need to unite in order to fight this problem.

The beginning has been made in Balasore, and we hope this starts a nationwide trend.

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