Over two weeks after several cases of diarrhoea were reported from Fatehgarh Mohalla, five-year-old Prince, the only child of his parents, died after suffering from the ailment for the past couple of days at Prem Vihar, Phambran Road, on Sunday.
“Prince was complaining of loose motions for the past few days. On Saturday night, we felt his condition deteriorated as he was not eating anything. We rushed him to a nearby hospital on Sunday morning, where the doctors declare him dead,” said Prince’s grandmother Asha.
Deceased Prince’s father Mithun works as a driver and his mother Bharti was not even in position to speak.
Meanwhile, the news of Prince’s death caused panic among the area residents, who alleged that water supplied to the area was contaminated, discoloured and emitted foul smell. They alleged that water problem was prevailing in the area for the past two months. Thus, one or two patients, mostly children, complaining of stomach ache, loose motions or vomiting could be found in almost every house in Street Number 3 of Prem Vihar.
Eventually, residents protested against the municipal corporation and said water provided should be pure.
A resident, Satendra, said, “Contaminated water supply has continued for the past two months. A few days ago, a complaint was also registered with the MC. But to no avail.”
He said as the water was stinking, most of the people used to bring drinking water from their factories or offices, where they were working.
Another resident Mamta said her all three children, Simran, Ansh and Gurkiran, were complaining of loose motions for the past two days. She said this was because they drank the contaminated water.
The three children’s neighbours Aryan, 8, Dev, 2, Tanya, 5, and Manpreet, 3, are also suffering from loose motions.
Following the protest and news of the five-year-old’s death, officials of the health department, MC and Ludhiana East MLA Ranjit Singh Dhillon reached the locality.
MLA Dhillon assured the residents that water supply and sewage problem would be redressed at the earliest. He said he would raise the matter of Prince’s death, and demand compensation for the family.
MC officials checked the water, but didn’t dare to drink it. Later, a water tanker was sourced to supply water to residents.
Kamlesh Bansal, additional commissioner, operation and maintenance, MC, said sewage pipe lines were installed in the locality and now road making work was in progress. “The water supplied we tested on Sunday was not contaminated, but still we will take water samples to check adulteration,” Bansal added.
MC executive engineer (XEN) Pardeep Kumar said complaint of leakage in water pipeline was received 10 days ago in the area, and pipeline was repaired on the very same day.
Later AS Sekhon, incharge, health wing, MC, reached the area and visited the houses asking them about purity of water supplied.
On checking the water, he said it was clean, but himself didn’t dare to drink it. Sekhon said no water contamination was found, but they would send the water for testing.
He said the problem could be caused due to septic tanks constructed below the houses, as sewage lines, though installed, were yet to be started in the area, adding that water would be provided through water tankers till residents get sure of water purity in the area.
Health team finds 14 diarrhoea cases
Later in the day, district epidemiologist Dr Anil Verma on directions of civil surgeon Dr Subhash Batta reached Prem Vihar with a six-member team, including medical officers.
The health team conducted a medical camp at government school. Dr Verma said a total of 113 patients were examined and 14 cases were of mild diarrhoea were detected. All other patients complained of fever, body ache, backache, pain in abdomen and other ailments, he said.
Dr Verma said Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS) packets and chlorine tablets were distributed among the residents and the camp would continue on Monday.