Hygiene, safe drinking water a luxury for slum dwellers | punjab | Hindustan Times
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Hygiene, safe drinking water a luxury for slum dwellers

punjab Updated: Apr 15, 2013 00:12 IST
Harshraj Singh

Despite numerous cases of gastroenteritis and diarrhoea being reported at city hospitals in the past, the administration has failed to maintain hygienic conditions and provide safe drinking water in various slum areas.

With the authorities turning a blind eye to the situation, slum dwellers have been left to fend for themselves in summer when the risk of diseases like gastroenteritis, diarrhoea, malaria, dengue and other infections remains high.

A visit to slum areas, including Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar, Rajiv Gandhi Colony, Dhandari, Pakhowal road, Hambran road and others, reveals the apathy of the civic authorities.

Locals complain that the authorities have turned a deaf ear to their grievances, even as month after month, the number of people suffering from water-borne diseases increases. Despite poor water quality, chlorine tablets are not being provided to locals to ensure safe drinking water, the residents claim.

Vipan Kumar, a slum dweller in Rajiv Gandhi Colony, said they had not been provided chlorine tablets or safe drinking water for over a year now.

He said they were being forced to drink stinking water, which had made several slum dwellers fall sick.

Lakhwinder, leader of Karkhana Majdoor Union, said skin infections and stomachache problems were common in the area. He claimed the authorities had failed to provide chlorine tablets, adding the many locals drank water from hand pumps, which was not safe.

The situation in the nearby Prem Nagar is worse, as puddles of stagnant water dot almost all roads. The foul smell in the area makes it impossible for anyone to stay there. Residents claim several complaints to the authorities have proven futile.

The state of affairs in Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar, Pakhowal road and Kitchlu Nagar, was not much different. Dirty water was stagnant in various places, besides garbage strewn around.

Dr Surinder Gupta, secretary, National Integrated Medical Association, said water-borne diseases spread more in slum areas, adding that gastroenteritis, diarrhoea, typhoid, malaria, skin infections and others were common during summer in the past few years.

"Due to high humidity during summer, the risk of various diseases increases. The bacteria also spread more in warmer temperatures," he added.

Assistant civil surgeon Dr KS Saini said samples of water would be collected from slum areas from where complaints had been received. He said health teams had started creating awareness regarding seasonal diseases.

When contacted, mayor Harcharan Singh Gohalwaria said chlorine tablets would be provided to slum dwellers soon.

Stating that he would pay special attention to maintaining hygienic conditions in slum areas, he said fogging would start this week.