18 October 2019
Dhenkanal: As many as 40 people have allegedly died due to kidney-related ailment in Harijan Sahi of Babandha village in Dhenkanal district and over 50 are afflicted with the disease within a span of five years.
With breadwinners of several families falling to this near epidemic, locals are rendered helpless. For undergoing treatment, families are taking private loans and some are even selling off their lands and other assets to bear the cost of the treatment.
A local Gautam Nayak sadly said, “I was detected with this disease in the year 2014. Due to lack of treatment, I am not able to support my family and now my son’s education has been halted so that he can support us.”
Another villager Kalabati Nayak said, “My husband was detected with the disease in the year 2014. Our finances have dried up in his treatment. We are not able to educate our kids. Now we don’t know what to do.”
The villagers blame the Mugini stone quarry and several stone crushers near the village for causing air pollution. Additionally, they blame the frequent dynamite explosions which in turn is polluting the groundwater.
District Public Health Officer, Dr Jyotish Chandra Mohapatra said, “Our medical team has been frequently visiting the Babandha village and have conducted blood tests. We have found proof of kidney ailments in the village.”
Speaking on the possible causes he said, “Alcoholism might be one of the causes. There are several chronic high blood pressure and diabetes patients in the village. These also lead to kidney failures. Air pollution due to stone crushers nearby causes lung infection and does not infect the kidneys. We have also sent the water samples to test the presence of heavy metals. After reports come in we can conclusively reveal the cause.”