21 dead, govt says drink rain water

Raipur, June 24 : As many as 21 tribals have died of diarrhoea in Chhattisgarh’s Maoist-affected Bijapur district. And how has the district administration reacted? It has told the tribals to drink only rainwater!

Eight villages in the district, 400 km south of Raipur are affected by the infection, said R. Prasanna, the collector of Bijapur, while confirming the deaths.

He said the Maoist insurgency and poor road connectivity to the affected villages were coming in the way of delivering on-time health services to the people.

“We will ask tribal villagers to consume rain water and

they should chlorinate the drinking water sources as

safeguard. The diarrhoea deaths had resulted owing to drinking of contaminated water,” he added.

The government will dig tube wells in the village only after the monsoon season. Left unsaid was the sub-text: the villagers would have to wait for clean drinking water.

The Bijapur Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr Sujeet Biswas, told HT that so far, 155 serious cases of diarrhea have been reported in Bijapur this year.

“We act on delayed information and the situation gets worse by the time the medical team reaches the affected villages,” he said.

“There is very little safe drinking water in these villages as high summer temperatures this year have brought the water level down” said Chhattisgarh Health Secretary Vikas Sheel.