The squads being deputed by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to spot leakages and contamination in the water supply will also check residents suffering from water-contamination-related ailments. A civic health department team will join hands with the water department to control waterborne disease.
The water department is initiating a drive — from April 25 to May 9 — to plug leaks and contamination before the monsoon begins.
During the drive, a water department team will inspect and plug leaks in each ward while the health team will coordinate with it to survey the area for cases of waterborne diseases. “If the health team finds any patients, it will distribute chlorine tablets in the area,” said Rahul Shewale, chairman of the civic Standing Committee, who initiated the drive.
Contaminated water could lead to gastro, jaundice, cholera, diarrhoea and hepatitis.
In April 2010, Vrushali Pawar, 26, and Kavita Aitala, 23, residents of a slum rehabilitation building at Worli died of jaundice. Both were pregnant.
The Bombay high court took serious note of a public interest litigation after the deaths. The BMC claimed in its affidavit that water supplied from the main to the building was clean and potable, but had got contaminated due to unhygienic surroundings.
“We have taken this drive as a precautionary measure. It will be observed as ‘Save Water Fortnight’. If needed, we could extend it beyond the dates set,” said Shewale. All ward offices will have to prepare a list of leaks in their areas and attend to them on a priority.
“We will fine the contractor concerned if he does not cooperate with the BMC staff during the drive,” said RB Bambale, BMC’s hydraulic engineer. A report will be compiled after the drive is completed, said Bambale.
The Hindustan Times has been consistently drawing attention to the alarmingly high contamination levels in Mumbai. On April 18, it reported the high number of contamination complaints received and the cause of the contamination.