Diarrhoea cases in Himachal villages pass 1,200

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Hamirpur (HP), Jan 31 (PTI) Diarrhoea cases in villages of Hamirpur district's Nadaun sub-division are estimated to have crossed 1,200 in the last three days, Health department officials said on Tuesday.

The exact figure will be available later in the day, they said. According to government data, 868 cases were reported till Monday night. Of the total, one patient is undergoing treatment at the hospital.

Nadaun is the assembly constituency of Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu.

Preliminary tests of water samples have not indicated any contamination, Jal Shakti department officials said.

Neeraj Bhogal, a superintending engineer in the department, said water samples of all schemes on Kunah khad would be taken daily and sent to a laboratory in Chandigarh. The Chandigarh lab is better equipped for such tests.

Until the water quality is ascertained, it will not be supplied, he said.

Water to the affected villages is supplied from nearby khads under various schemes of the Jal Shakti department.

Patients in 47 villages have complained of vomiting, diarrhoea and fever, an indication of water-borne disease. The villages worst affected by the outbreak are Banh, Jandgi Gujran, Jandali Rajputan, Panyala, Pathiyalu, Niyati, Rangas Chowki Haar, Thain and Sankar in Nadaun.

Local residents alleged that the department did not ensure proper chlorination before supplying the water, leading to the spread of the disease.

They alleged several shortcomings in lifting the water from Kunah khad and supplying it through 10 schemes of the department.

Two to three people in every household have taken ill after consuming the water, Rajeev Kumar, head of Rangas panchayat, had alleged earlier.

It is believed that the high amount of bacteria in the water is causing the illness, he had said and attributed it to contamination of the pit from which the water is supplied.

Sunil Sharma, the chief minister's political advisor who visited the affected villages in Nadaun on Tuesday, was told that people fell ill after drinking the polluted water.

Sharma inspected the water source and directed the officials to bring the disease under control at the earliest.

Efforts will be made to clean all water supplied via various schemes in the state, including in Nadaun, on a permanent basis. It will be ensured that clean water is supplied to the people, Sharma said.

No laxity with respect to the health of the people will be tolerated, he added.

Teams from the Health department continued to visit the affected and nearby villages to meet the people and distribute medicines. The local residents have also been advised to drink boiled water till the problem is resolved. PTI COR BPL SZM