TEZPUR, Aug 8 - Reports of large-scale detection of diseases like cancer and kidney failure in undivided Sonitpur district has shocked everybody including the State Health Department which is a major stakeholder.
It is to be mentioned here that reports of proliferation of cases of six dreaded diseases including cancer, in areas under the office of the Joint Director, Health, Sonitpur district from Gohpur-Hawajan to Dhekiajuli-Barchala, within the last seven years have come to light. During the Congress regime, financial assistance was provided to many people through the �Jivan Jyoti� scheme implemented by the Social Welfare department for such serious diseases. Accordingly, hundreds of family members of many such patients applied for financial assistance under �Jivan Jyoti� scheme between 2001 to 2016. According to the data received from the office of the Social Welfare department, Sonitpur, in 2011 and 2012, a total of 185 cancer patient�s families sought financial aid under the scheme. On the other hand, in 2012 -2013 seventy-four patients, 91 patients in 2013-14, 74 patients in 2014-15 and 94 patients in 2015-16 sought such assistance making a total of 518 patients who filed applications. People here are shocked by such an alarming rate of increasing number of cancer patients within a short span of time in the district.
Likewise, as per the data received from office of the Joint Director of Health, Sonitpur, in the district thousands of people are suffering from six serious diseases like including cancer, kidney and heart trouble. Sources revealed that during 2016-17 a total of 10,132 such patients from different corners of undivided Sonitpur District sought financial assistance under �Atal Amrit� scheme. The report of such an alarming rate of suffering of over 10,000 people within only 1 year under LACs in Sonitpur district has worried all concerned. It is significant that it is only the data of poor people suffering from such diseases who submitted applications to the above mentioned agencies concerned seeking financial assistance. There are many other such patients from middle class families who were admitted in various health care centers in and outside Assam and didn�t seek any help from the Government. If this number is added, the number of cases is surely expected to be at least double.
While seeking the reason behind such alarming rates of cancer and other dreaded diseases patients in undivided Sonitpur district, two noted cancer specialists from B Borooah Cancer Institute, Guwahati revealed that the use of chemicals and insecticides in agricultural fields on a large scale, environmental degradation, smoking, use of gutkha etc., are the major reasons behind such diseases. The general secretary of the Assam chapter of the Indian Medical Association (IMA), Dr Atul Kalita said that besides the above-mentioned reasons including chemical-based seed production and preservation procedure, rampant use of pain killing medicines are also prime factors behind the growing rate of cancer or such kind of dreaded diseases. It is important to note here that Sonitpur district including Tezpur town has become a haven for gutkha-users in the State. As per the received data, every month the gutkha business is worth Rs 15 - 20 crore. Moreover, large-scale deforestation in the district has also compounded the issue. The common people feel that if early measures are not taken in this regard, an undesirable situation will surely arise in the near future.