Six tribesmen died while atleast 22 fell ill of suspected food-poisoning in Kawardha district of Chhattisgarh, around 250 km from the state capital. The dead included 2 children and 2 women.
The affected tribals belong to a Baiga community.
Though the four persons died on Wednesday and one each on Thursday and Friday, the administration learnt about the victims on late Friday evening as the affected village Gabhora is reported to be remotely located and not easily accessible. Kawardha happens to be a home constituency of the chief minister Dr Raman Singh.
The district administration rushed a medical team to the Pandriya block of Kawardha to check the alarming situation where the entire village Gabhora has been affected by food poisoning and gastro-enteritis.
While confirming the death of six tribals, Collector Sonmoni Bora told Hindustan Times that he has ordered a magisterial probe. "I suspect the death and illness might have resulted owing to gastro-enteritis and consumption of contaminated water". The village does not have a single hand pump and consume water from a near-by flowing small river, he informed. Stale meat of pig and traces of rotten wild mushroom were found in the hamlets of the deceased, it was told.
Itwari Baiga, a resident of the affected village who informed the district administration about the deaths, told that those who died were suffering from acute vomiting and diarrhoea. The medical team who visited the village claimed that the deaths and illness could be owing to consumption of wild poisonous mushrooms. The post-mortem report is still awaited.
"The conditions of around 15 are reported to be serious and temporary medical camps have been set up in the affected area”, Bora told HT.
According to Gabhora villagers ‘the gastro-enteritis has created an epidemic like situation in the tribal belt of the district’.