TEZPUR, Dec 11 - Cancer has become a major killer disease in some parts of Sonitpur district. This reporter in a recent visit to Ghoramarai area near here found that almost 80 per cent families in this greater area basically in Adabari, Tupukijhar, Chopaguri, Dhekidol, Botabari, Rengonijhar, Buragaon, Harsura, Hulapar, Alishinga and Ulubari villages under Ghoramari Development block near Balipara in Sonitpur district have already been diagnosed with cancer and more than half of the patients have eventually died.
Presenting a pathetic scenario, noted social worker of the area Deben Narzary who has already lost three members of his family due to cancer said that during the last two decades over 50 people have died of cancer in the area and more than 20 patients are under treatment. The more important thing to note here is that cancer has become a big burden in the area as treatment for the same is a costly affair.
Expressing their strong resentment over the government and the Health department’s alleged indifferent attitude towards the issue, the common villagers of the area mentioned that despite having the information being available, no effective measures have been taken by the concerned responsible agencies.
The people of the area opined that due to the excessive use of pesticides in the tea gardens near these villages and some other chemicals used in the two major plants of Dabur and Patanjali in AIDC, Balipara that are adjacent to the mentioned villages, the entire area has been contaminated including the water which the people have been consuming year after year. In this regard, former ABSU workers namely Anil Boro and Bhabani Basumatary said that though the public health department water supply project is the main source of supplying potable water in the greater area, it supplies water once only in a day which literally means that it cannot meet the required amount of potable water for the greater area. People also doubt the purity of the filtered water supplied to them by the PHED.
A youth who didn’t want to be named here stated that the concerned department has already come to know that over the years people of the area have been consuming iron and arsenic with folic acid-contaminated water, leading to the spread of a disease like cancer, but regrettably, nobody is interested in seriously dealing with the matter.
“Besides this the area suffers from communication problems too. The connective roads constructed some years back by some unscrupulous contractors in the area are wearing off due to poor quality of construction,” he said. He added that in Dhekipelwa area, the non-scientifically run pig farm (symbiotic pig farm) has also compounded the problem as the dumping of pig dung produces unpleasant odour in the area creating a health hazard in the greater area; we have already appealed to the owners to take measures to mitigate the problem.
People of the area are also of the opinion that besides the State Health Department and the Public Health Engineering Department (PHE), India’s largest laboratory DRL (DRDO) exists nearby, which can deal with this burning problem by studying the matter and indicate a solution. “We would like to appeal to them to conduct a survey/ experiment in our area so that they can show us a practical way of solution to the problem since we know that presently besides working for the armed forces DRL/DRDO has been working for the civilians. They are very close to us so we are hopeful enough that they will understand our problem,” the people of the area mentioned.
Meanwhile, when contacted, Joint Director, Health, Sonitpur, Krishna Kemprai said that the they are closely monitoring the issue and very shortly the Health department would organise certain special programmes including health and general awareness programmes. “As the health condition of the people of our society depends upon their lifestyle, we will have to study that also,” she said.