TALCHER: Even as the State Government has mobilised all its resources to contain jaundice outbreak in Sambalpur, the threat of the disease taking roots in Talcher looms large. The residents of the town claimed that they virtually consume drain water in the absence of a sewerage system.
With health experts citing faecal contamination of drinking water as the reason behind the spread of the disease in Sambalpur besides Balangir and Cuttack, adequate steps are yet to be taken by the administration in Talcher town to check a possible outbreak.
According to sources, more than 50,000 people of Talcher town consume contaminated water. The water intake pump is located at about 500 metres below the drain water outlet system. The sewage of the town flows into river Brahmani and percolates into the intake pump system polluting the drinking water.
Absence of a sewerage system has aggravated the problem. The locals said the Public Health Department is yet to take any step in spite of agitations staged at frequent intervals demanding shifting of the water intake system to another location.
An environmentalist Bouri Bandhu Bez said, “We virtually consume drain water. People of the area suffer from various water-borne diseases including jaundice and after the deaths in Sambalpur, they fear similar threat to their lives.”
BJP leader Kalandi Samal, who also raised his voice over the issue, said, “Though the State Government earns `1,000 crore of revenue from the area every year, it has failed to work for the benefit of the people. It must take urgent steps to ensure safe drinking water to the people.”
Executive Engineer of Odisha Water Supply and Sewerage Board (OWSSB) said a treatment plant is under construction and the work will be over in about nine months. Once it is completed, the drain water will be collected and released downstream of Brahmani which will check pollution of the drinking water source.