Three tribals, including a 7-year-old boy, have died and more than 200 people have fallen sick after drinking contaminated water from a well in a village in Madhya Pradesh’s Betul district in the last 15 days, health department officials said.
Villagers are suffering from diarrhoea after drinking contaminated water from a village well and a 30-member team of healthcare workers was rushed to the village to treat the sick, district chief medical and health officer Dr Pradeep Mojis said on Saturday.
The minor boy and a 40-year-old woman died on June 10, and a 45-year-old man died on Saturday, said Betul town inspector Pankaj Tyagi.
It is believed that superstitions like placing hot iron rods on the sick person’s body as treatment further aggravated the situation in the village. “If we find villagers indulging in the superstitious practice, we will file an FIR against them,” said Tyagi.
The situation worsened on June 9, but no team from the district health department visited the village until the next day, villagers said. The nearest primary healthcare centre is in Hathkhedi, about 20 km from the village.
The district has been reeling under a severe water crisis, and on June 6 the district authorities issued prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure in Betul town, banning construction activities in a bid to conserve water. At least 45 out of the 51 districts in the state are reeling under severe drought conditions.
An employee of the Aamla civic body was shot on June 7 following a quarrel over the water problem.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi last month chaired a high-level meeting with chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan to take stock of the situation and water scarcity in the state.