Four persons of Gandhi Camp locality here died of gastroenteritis on Tuesday taking the toll to 10.
Among those dead were two women. Parkasho Devi, 60, Taro Devi, 70, Birbal, 60, and Som Nath, 65, died at the civil hospital here. More than a dozen patients of gastroenteritis are hospitalised in the civil hospital.
"It is only after 10 persons have died that the municipal council has woken up and started a cleanliness drive in the locality," said Dharminder Kumar, a resident of Gandhi Camp.
"For the last three months, I as well as residents of our locality, have been complaining about the contaminated drinking water in our areas to the sanitary inspectors of the civic body but nothing was done," he said.
More than 70% of the sewerage system in Gandhi Camp is lying defunct for several months and the dirty water started entering the water supply pipes, resulting in contamination of drinking water.
Batala sub-divisional magistrate JS Grewal said the administration was taking all preventative measures to stop spread of the disease.
"More than 60 employees of the municipal council are working round the clock to clean the locality and two tanks filled with chlorinated water were also provided to the residents there," said Grewal.
He advised residents to boil water before drinking and approach the health department if they spot symptoms of gastroenteritis.
Meanwhile, Punjab Congress affairs in-charge Gulchain Singh Charak visited the civil hospital to take stock of the situation. He met the kin of the deceased and assured them all possible help and that he would bring the matter to the notice of the Congress high command.