After 42 people have been diagnosed with jaundice in the industrial town Batala since February 3, a team of civil and health administration officials led by local bodies government secretary Vikas Partap visited the affected localities to take stock of the situation, here on Monday.
The team, which also included water supply and sewerage board chief executive officer DK Tiwari, after visiting the affected localities, confirmed that the disease was water borne and had spread in some of the localities due to the pilferage in the sewerage water pipes. “This resulted in the contaminated water getting mixed with the drinking water, leading to the outbreak of the disease,” they said.
Talking to HT, Batala civil hospital senior medical officer Dr Sanjeev Bhalla said on February 3, some patients with jaundice symptoms were reported from Kazi Morrie, Thathari Gate, Hatti Gate, Chiatorgarh and adjoining areas, after which six medical teams were immediately dispatched to the affected localities.
He said till date 42 cases with jaundice symptoms were reported at the civil hospital, out of which some were getting treatment, while the rest had been discharged after being administered the required treatment.
Meanwhile, on seeing the situation getting worse with each passing day, a team led by Partap, Tiwari and Gurdaspur deputy commissioner Abhinav Trikha rushed to Batala and toured the affected localities. The team, which also included Gurdaspur civil surgeon Dr RS Randhawa, camped in the civil hospital. As many 16 special medical teams have been constituted that would conduct door-to-door survey and would give free-of-cost treatment to the affected persons.
Blaming the negligence on the part of the state government, local Congress MLA Ashwani Sekhri alleged that more than 100 persons were suffering from jaundice. “Since the last three days, I have been repeatedly requesting the district administration to take prompt action against this, but in vain,” he said.
“The state government is playing with the lives of people. The situation is alarming. The government that is not capable of giving clean water to the people has no right to run the state. The CM should accept the moral responsibility,” he said.
He added that in October 2012, 47 persons died in Batala when the sewerage water got mixed with the drinking water at slum locality at Gandhi camp. “During that time chief minister Parkash Singh Badal visited the city and announced to change the entire sewerage pipes of the city. But even after four years, nothing has been done so far,” he said, adding that if any toward incident took place, he would not hesitate to knock the doors of the court and seek strict action against the officials, whose negligence had led to the outbreak of this disease.
Meanwhile, SAD leader and former Qadian MLA Lakhbir Singh Lodhinagal also blamed the local municipal council behind this epidemic. He alleged that it was only due to the reluctant attitude of the MC officials that the people of this city were facing such problems from the last some months.
“Soon after getting information about the spread of jaundice, I called deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal and appraised him with the ground realities. Taking a strict note of this, the deputy CM, subsequently dispatched a special team to the affected areas,” he added.
Sources in the health department said the number of the cases was quite high and the count was likely to go up in the coming days. However, the administration has urged the residents not to panic. It is also learnt that out of the 42 patients, two were in serious condition.