Capstone Sandur Taluk

There is a lack doctors in the hospitals and PHCs

Ramkumar, a TB patient from Chornur

Every morning Ramkumar, a villager from Chornur village in Sandur Taluk goes to Sandur for the medicine under DOTS programme for the deadly infection or disease like Tuberculosis. Ramkumar is a father of two children and a very poor man. He has to spend two hours in hospital for his treatment as his Taluk’s PHC didn’t have enough facilities for his problem. After developing a persistent cough, he visited the PHC of his Taluk, there was an AYUSH doctor who put a needle in his arm took a few drops of blood and after sometime they called him and informed that he has tuberculosis. Somehow, Ramkumar is surviving with the help of medicine. 

Dr. Harish Sasabali (MBBS) doctor, from Chornur village, he explained about the problem of the village and also explained to me about the serious diseases. As he the senior doctor of the village he knows better about villagers’ problem, so he said there is very less awareness amongst the villagers about all these deadly diseases. It is a government as well as mining company’s responsibility to generate awareness among the people and taught them how to cure. There was one more trainee doctor Dr. Kotris (BAMS), he also explained to me about the problems which are generated or produced by the mining companies and they also blame the companies for spreading the pollution in the village.

The PDO (Panchayat Development Officer) of Chornur, Virappa, said, “We wrote so many complaints to the higher authorities regarding this problem but in return we only received mask in panchayat office for the villagers.” No one can wear the mask for 24 hrs authorities have to take some serious action against them, he added.

According to an article, ‘The Deadly Misdiagnosis, “Tuberculosis has always been the signature disease of urban poverty, passed easily in poorly ventilated spaces. India has nearly two million new cases each year, and every day a thousand people die of the disease, the highest number in the world. Tuberculosis is also the leading cause of death among people between fifteen and forty-five—the most productive age group in any country and the key to India’s prospects for continued economic growth.”

The article also mentioned that, “In the developing world, though, tuberculosis has surged dangerously, and this year, according to the World Health Organization, there will be ten million new cases, the largest number in history. As people join the great migrations from villages to crowded cities, slum life and tuberculosis await them. With India’s urban population expected to double in the next thirty years, to seven hundred million, its cities will remain fertile ground for an infectious epidemic. Yet—no doubt owing to the fact that rich people in the West rarely get the disease—tuberculosis receives fewer resources, fewer research dollars, and less attention from the global health community than either AIDS or malaria—the two other most deadly infectious diseases. Most TB infections are latent: no more than ten per cent will ever cause illness. This means that ninety per cent of people with antibodies for TB in their blood don’t have the disease. In this village most of the villagers were infected by these diseases. For most patients, the choices are bleak. Public hospitals are so overcrowded that people are forced to rely on inaccurate tests dispensed at private labs and clinics.”

A student who is infected from skin disease due to dust and pollution

The villagers blame the mining companies like Sandur Manganese and Iron Ore (SMIORE), Jindal South West group (JSW) and National Mineral Development Corporation (NDMC) for producing dust and pollution in the village. The dust which is increased due to mining is the major cause of the diseases in the village and because of this many villagers are losing their lives. There are also not enough medical facilities for the villagers so they have to travel approx 20 km from their village to Sandur for better medical facilities. The same problem is in another village named Taranagar. According to the data provided by the PHCs and the Gram Panchayat, out of 6000 of population, more than 4000 people were affected by this disease.

K R Aiswarya, a resident of Taranagar village whose husband passed away from tuberculosis said, “One year back my husband, Araswami, passed away. He used to work at a mining company here and had problems with his health. It was normal for this village so we did not worry much. He went for check up whenever he found time. One day his condition worsened and we took him to the PHC nearby. There was no equipment or a doctor. So, they shifted him to the hospital. But it took a lot of time and we were late. He passed away in the hospital.” It is all because of the dust and the mining companies. He was the only earning person in the family and now I have to work. Our future is uncertain, she added. She said that it was very common to see people coughing around and having problems with breathing and her children have also developed some symptoms.

The villages come under the mining area and the villagers were affecting mostly by the pollution produces by the mining companies. The surroundings of the village are full of dust due to regular run of heavy vehicles towards the mining area. According to the only doctor in the village, Harish S, Ayush Doctor in the village, the pollution is causing so many deadly diseases among the villagers like Asthma, TB, Skin Infections, lung infections etc. The children age groups of 10-15 are facing the breathing problems. People of the village are dying due to this, maximum numbers of people age group of 40-50 are facing serious heart problems and many of them are had going through the heart surgery.

Yasam Swami, a resident of the village, said, “The villagers were facing this problem from last 30-40 years. As the village comes under the mining area, government is also not taking any initiative to solve this problem.” According to the villagers, they protested long back when this mining companies were planning to set up their business but that time the companies promised the villagers for their welfare and for so many Corporate Social Responsibilities (CSRs) but till now nothing has happened. The government directed the mining companies to plan something to reduce the pollution and for some days they reduce or divert the routes of trucks and also organized the medical camps for the village but after some months it all started again.

Tungabadra miningcompany which is just 3 kms away from the village harms the most

Ravi Kumar, another resident of the Taranagar said that,“we keep filing complaints to the government but no action has been taken by them towards the mining companies. The doctor, Harish S also added to Kumar’s statement by saying that the villagers keep protesting in the road for their demand and they want to change the route of trucks that causes more pollution. The mining companies have to stop their trucks at least in the night. Decrease in running of trucks can reduce the pollution in certain extend. The mining companies should take join decisions and change the routes of their trucks far from the village. It will cost little more for them, but they can get the public support as well as no hindrance from the local public that results smooth work place for them.”

Trucks parked in Tungabadra Mining Company

The problem was recognized by seeing the pollution in the village and by seeing the dust all over the surroundings. The houses and the road side of the village is full of dust and pollution, people can’t even walk free on the road. Most of the villagers are going through surgeries and 70% of villagers have problem of Asthma and TB. The problem is increasing year by year and the pollution is also affecting the nearby places to the villages like Yeshwant Nagar, Sandur and Taranagar etc. The pollution is causing breathing problems in children of the village as well.

A villager of Taranagar, Rajanna said, “Public hospitals are so overcrowded that people are forced to rely on inaccurate tests dispensed at private labs and clinics. They are unregulated enterprises, and peddle blood tests that are responsible for tens of thousands of misdiagnoses every year. We the villagers are facing dust and pollution problem from past 40 years, most of us have lungs infection, heart disease and skin diseases. We wrote complains to the higher authorities regarding to this problem so many times but no action is taken till now.” Most of us had gone through the lung and heart surgery in the village, he added. He also said that, as we are very near to the mining area, the water also gets polluted.

As per the government rule there should be one MBBS and one junior doctor in every PHCs but in the village like that cover 3 villages have one senior doctor with AYUSH degree and one trainee doctor. They do not have much idea about most of the diseases. If there is some emergency case, they immediately transfer the patients to big hospitals.

The doctor of Taranagar, Harish S said, “We treated some people under the DOTS programme but the villagers are not regular to the programme as the duration of this programme is three months.” He also added that, we advised people to wear mask so that this disease will not spread among all the villagers. He also said that new babies are born with malnutrition problems in the village because of under nutrition occurs during pregnancy of before two years of age it may result in permanent problems with physical and mental development. The problem for skin disease in new born babies is because lung infection in mothers’ bodies and other problems because of the pollution.

As per reports, tuberculosis has always taken its most serious toll on the industrial-labor class not on artists. The rise of industry throughout the world has been mirrored uncannily by a rise in deaths from tuberculosis. As a society becomes richer, the conditions that allow tuberculosis to flourish start to wane. Sanitation and housing improve and so does nutrition. By the nineteen-fifties, very few people in the West were dying of the disease.Tuberculosis can be cured, but taking several antibiotics nearly every day for six months is not easy, particularly in parts of the world without running water or refrigeration. In 1994, the W.H.O. instituted a program called DOTS, which stands for “directly observed treatment, short course.” DOTS require health workers to provide medicine and then to watch people swallow it every day until they complete their treatment. Compliance is essential, because stopping treatment in the middle permits the most resilient strains of the bacteria to thrive, greatly increasing the chance that they will become resistant to basic, inexpensive drugs.

DOTS programme, the Direct Observation Treatment Scheme was a scheme provided by the government for the tuberculosis control strategy recommended by WHO. The programme was end in year 2005 after a successful achieve. Now the PHCs are following the RNTCP (Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme), which is a state-run TB control initiative of the Government of India.

Complaint letter filed by the villagers

M Khaleel, Panchayat Member of Taranagar said, “Till now we wrote so many complains to the higher authorities like DC, MLA and MP of the village but no one is responding to our problems.” The new born babies are born with skin diseases and malnutrition in our Taluk, he added in his statement.  

The pollution control board said that they had sent a notice to the mining companies for watering the road twice in a day so that the dust will not spread in the air and change the route of the trucks from the village and also reduce the travelling of trucks in the night. They also said that most of the mining companies are closed there is only few companies who are doing their business but soon they will also shut their business.

As the rainfall rate of Sandur Taluk is 767.7mm which is really good, when the rain falls, the water is mixed with the dust and harms the crops of the village. It affects the ground water level and also makes the lake water dirty, so many pesticides mix with the water and harms the lake water.

The lake which is polluted by the dust from the mining companies

During my visit a cattle owner who owned more than 40 cattle said that the pollution is also harming my animals as last month two cows were died because of this. The quality of milk is also decreasing, he added. He also added that there is no grass in the village so he has to spend huge money for the grass so that their cattle can eat the grass and the productivity can be increased.

Dr Karl Mehta, Pulmonologist at Gleneagles Global Hospital said, “The permanent solution for this problem is to shut all the mining companies near the village area but temporary solution would be stopping the movement of trucks in the night and change the route of the trucks, far from the village. The other solution can be to change the working hours of these mining companies as most of them function 24 hours. Although the mining companies know about these problems, they are not doing anything to procure the villagers. The government directed mining companies to shut their business after that also they running their business illegally. The government is also receiving lots of revenue from the mining companies so that they are probably not taking any action against them. The governments have to start new programs for the people who are fighting with the TB and provide them moral as well as financial supports to them.”

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) report on tuberculosis, 2019, India is highest among the eight countries accounted for the two third of the global tuberculosis cases with 27% and is even ahead of China. It also says that around 10 million people had TB in globally in 2018 while 26,90,000 cases were from India. Around 1.5 million people died with the disease all over the world in 2018 out of which 2,05,000 were children. In India, the death toll was around 4,40,000. Although, the number of cases has declined from 27,40,000 in 2017, India still has the highest number of cases of tuberculosis in the world.


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