MAKARABBI(HOOVINA HADAGALI): Even as the death toll in Makarabbi village in Hoovina Hadagali taluk of Vijayanagara district is rising, the villagers have claimed that the administration ignored early warnings of water contamination. It was in early September that the first person got sick after consuming contaminated water, but the local administration did not react till over 100 people got admitted to various hospitals, they say.
The village, with a population of 2,000, has four borewells out of which water from three have been declared as unfit for consumption. A section of villages have claimed that the ongoing works to provide piped water to houses had damaged the water pipeline, leading to drainage water mixing with it.
In the last three weeks, the village has reported six deaths. But the villagers claim that the toll may rise further as many people are under treatment in ICUs. Goneppa Anagaragatti (55), Basamma Havanur (70), Laxmavva Karagangoudar (48), Nilappa Belavagi (60) and Kenchamma Haranakatti (70) from Makarabbi village have died so far. Meanwhile, senior IAS officer Munish Moudgil, who is heading a team tasked with investigating the deaths, visited the village on Thursday, interacted with the villagers and collected details.
‘In just a week, 150 hospitalised’
Anjenanappa Dasar, a resident of the village, said that the local administration ignored early signs of contamination. “Goneppa Anagaragatti (55) was the first villager to die of contaminated water. We immediately informed the local authorities, but no one took it seriously till more and more people started getting admitted to various hospitals in the district and also in Dharwad and Gadag. In just one week, about 150 people were hospitalised due to contaminated water,” he recalled.
Local officials claim that repair of the borewell is the main cause of incident. Water from the same borewells is being consumed for over 30 years. But after the Jal Jeevan Mission project work started, the contamination was reported.
The administration has set up a temporary hospital in the village. So far, six villagers with mild symptoms have visited the health centre. The administration is also supplying RO water since the last one week. The supply with continue till the water contamination issue is settled, said a Health Department official.