Officials of the Water Supply Department lodged an FIR with the Bavla police station on Saturday evening after the Narmada water distribution line from Bavla to Kalyangadh was recurrently damaged by the villagers to draw water,which led to a typhoid epidemic in the area. A total of 105 patients are being treated at the Civil Hospital in Sola and the Community Health Centre (CHC) in Bavla,at present.
The Water Supply Department repaired the pipelines after the outbreak,but miscreants broke the valves in the area again to draw water for irrigation and for their cattle,following which we filed an FIR. The village mamlatdars also accompanied us to lodge the complaint against the miscreants, said Manish Srimali,the Deputy Executive Engineer of the Water Supply Department.
The outbreak in Bhayla,Keirala and Kalyangadh villages of Bavla taluka has taken 70 children between the age group of 5 and 14 years,and 35 adults from the three villages,in its grip.
Dr Rakesh Vaidya,the Chief District Health Officer (CDHO) of Ahmedabad said: There was a leakage in the water pipeline that led to the contamination of the drinking water. We started a house-to-house survey on the 8th after an unusually large number of cases started pouring in. We found that in Keirala village,people were not going to the doctors,but rather to the tantrik-healers.
He added: Most of the patients are between 5 and 14 years of age,as children generally have a low immunity. After the survey,the children were shifted to the Civil Hospital at Sola as it has better paediatric facilities,while our officials are visiting the villages daily and distributing tablets to clean the drinking water.
Dr Bhanu Desai,the paediatrician at Sola Civil Hospital said: We have a total of 73 patients admitted in our hospital of which 70 are children. After the death of a child from Keirala village who was being treated at the VS Hospital in Ahmedabad was reported on Thursday,all the children were shifted to our hospital. The Community Health Centre (CHC) at Bavla doesnt have adequate paediatric facility. The adults are,however,being treated at the CHC in Bavla where expert teams have been deputed.
The Health department officials and the District Development Officer (DDO) had earlier met the village sarpanch of all the three villages to explain the hazards of damaging the pipelines. But with the problem persisting,officials believe that addressing the water scarcity problem of the villagers is the only long-term solution.
We are trying to address the water scarcity problem
State Health Commissioner Amarjeet Singh said: We are constantly trying to explain to the villagers how they are causing havoc to themselves. We have to book the people damaging the pipelines,but we also have to make water available to the people because there has to be a genuine problem for which they are recurrently damaging the pipelines.
He added: Though an FIR has been lodged,we are trying to work out on how to address the water scarcity problem in the villages with help from the Water Supply Department. As an immediate solution,we are chlorinating the water.