Three engineers of the Gujarat Water Supply and Sewerage Board have been transferred and a departmental inquiry has been initiated against them over the outbreak of jaundice at three villages in Olpad taluka of Surat.
The three officials are J M Shankheshwaria (deputy engineer),P G Balar (assistant engineer) and Brahmbhatt (assistant engineer). The action has been taken in response to a report sent by Surat District Collector Dilip Rawal.
Over 50 people of Masma,Talad,Ishanpore and Sosak villages in Olpad are reported to have been suffering form jaundice after consuming contaminated water.
A leakage in the pipeline carrying drinking water to the region is believed to be the reason behind the outbreak. Gujarat Pollution Control Board officials collected samples of the water from different sites in the area for laboratory analysis on Thursday.
The residents of these villages had reportedly complained to the officials of the Variav-based water supply department about contaminated water a few days ago. But reportedly no steps had been taken to rectify the situation. The villagers afflicted with the disease are still undergoing treatment in different hospitals in Surat and Olpad.
The Variav division of Gujarat Water Supply and Sewerage Board (GWSSB) supplies drinking water through pipelines to 63 villages in Olpad. The residents of Masma had earlier found leakages in pipelines near Sena creek and three other places,and had registered their complaint with the board at Variav.
Surat District Collector Rawal had visited the affected areas on Wednesday and talked to the residents who had made representations about inaction by the GWSSB authorities.
The district collector had then sent a report to the chief secretary of the Water Supply department.
Rawal said,During my visit to the affected places,I could see that the officials had been negligent in their duties. The officials responsible for this have been transferred and a departmental inquiry has been started against them.
He said the situation is under control now and repair work at the four leakage spots has been undertaken.
Teams comprising officials of the district health department have rushed to the villages and they are involved in distributing medicines in the afflicted areas,Rawal added.
Veenu Patel,a resident of Ishanpor village said: The residents of Masma,Ishanpore and Talad have found leakages in the water pipelines and for that we had complained to the GWSSB officials at Variav region but no steps were taken.
He said the outbreak could have been stopped had the officials taken some timely preventive measures. Many of my relatives are still undergoing treatment in different hospitals in Olpad, said Patel.