Jumping on to the race for the 2012 Vidhan Sabha elections,Bhupinder Singh Sidhu,secretary,Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) and party delegate from Ludhiana South launched a tirade against the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation (LMC).
Sidhu slammed the LMC for supplying poor quality drinking water to the residents of Ludhiana South,which is the constituency from where Sidhu,a first-timer,is hoping to get a Congress ticket for the 2012 elections. He is the cousin of Killa Raipur Congress MLA Jassi Khangura.
The water being supplied by Sherpur,Lohara and Daba areas in Ludhiana South Assembly segment is highly contaminated with high quantity of E. Coli found in the samples. That is the reason why this particular area is severely hit by gastroenteritis outbreak every year, he said.
Sidhu said the random samples collected by the people in the area were tested in the Punjab Agricultural University and these were found highly contaminated.
Giving details,he said in Daba area,every 100 ml of water was found to contain about 1,100 E. Coli organisms; in Sherpur,it was 460 per 100 ml; and in Lohara,it was again 1,100 per 100 ml.
Quoting the specifications of the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS),Sidhu said ideally,the water should be clean and it should not have any E. Coli in it; however,given the fact that such purity is difficult to achieve,the BIS maintains that in no case should it be more than 10 per 100 ml.
He said the BIS maintains that E. Coli contamination should not be noticeable in 100 ml of water. If this is seen in such small quantity of water,that means contamination is at the highest level, Sidhu said.
He pointed out that the result of this high-level of contamination is the outbreak of diseases like gastroenteritis,jaundice,hepatitis,typhoid and dysentery. At times,it can even lead to cholera,he said,adding that investigations have revealed the presence of some more disease-causing pathogens in the samples that were yet to be included by the BIS in its specifications.
The PCC secretary said every year,there are hundreds of gastroenteritis cases in the area. Besides,there are hundreds of people suffering from chronic intestinal diseases caused by contaminated water.
He said it has been happening for years and the authorities are simply sleeping over the issue. The LMC has been supplying such contaminated water for so many years,and despite so many disease outbreaks,it remains unmoved, he said,while demanding strict measures to check this negligence.
Sidhu demanded that responsibility must be fixed at the individual level for supplying such dirty and contaminated water to the people. Otherwise these officials will not be bothered, he asserted while warning that once Congress comes to power every official will be held to task. We will not let our people die of these diseases,which spread only because of criminal negligence of some irresponsible officials, Sidhu warned.
He further said that Ludhiana MP Manish Tewari has been insisting upon the LMC to prepare a project so that he gets funds from the Union urban development ministry under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission; but the corporation has not prepared any project so far.