Chhattisgarh villagers raise alarm over 61 deaths due to unknown ailment in 3 years
The Chhattisgarh health department has swung into action after residents of a remote village in Bastar’s Sukma district claimed that 61 people had died there in the last three years due to an unknown illness. The administration, however, said that there was no single reason behind the reported deaths in the village.
Health Minister TS Singh Deo on Saturday said that the samples of water have been sent for examination and a detailed report to identify any heavy metal content like arsenic in water or soil there is awaited.
“The Chief Medical and Health Officer of the district told me that as per records a total of 47 people died in Rengadgatta village of Konta block in the last three years. The officials told me that people have died due to various reasons. Till now, we cannot say that there was a single reason behind the deaths,” said Singh Deo.
The minister further added that the content of iron and fluoride is high in the water of the village and samples have been sent to identify other heavy metals in the water. The villagers on July 27 had handed over a letter to the Sukma District Collector claiming that 61 people had died since 2020.
“We had sent a team of doctors to the village last week but they did not find any reason. However, samples of water sources suggest that fluoride level was more than the limit in two water sources while in some sources, iron content was high,” said Collector, Sukma, Harish S.
Officials believe that the deaths were not caused due to heavy metal content in water as consumption of water with high fluoride content causes bone weakness and there are no such symptoms in villagers.
Even high iron content causes complications but sudden deaths cannot happen due to it, officials added.
The villagers had claimed that some of the deceased had had swelling on their bodies.
“There could be other environmental causes behind the deaths. Chronic alcoholic behaviour among the population could also be a possibility,” the official said.
The Collector said the team of health officials which visited the village after the matter came to light had conducted medical examinations on villagers during which 41 people were identified as having swelling in their bodies and suffering from kidney-related issues.
The district’s Chief Medical and Health Officer (CMHO) Yashwant Dhruv said the deaths were caused due to combined reasons, including renal diseases, old-age related problems and malaria.