Odisha: As diarrhoea spreads, ‘Drink from Tap’ mission comes under scanner

Hundreds of people affected by the water-borne disease in Baseli Sahi and Gochhikar Sahi.

Published: 19th December 2022 09:01 AM  |   Last Updated: 19th December 2022 09:01 AM   |  A+A-

Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik launching Sujal through video conferencing.

Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik launching Sujal through video conferencing. (File Photo | EPS)

By Express News Service

PURI:  The ‘Sujal-Drink from Tap’ mission, aimed at providing clean drinking water to people of Puri town, seems to have failed to meet its objectives as diarrhoea continues to spread its tentacles in residential areas near the 12th century Sri Jagannath Temple.

In July last year, Puri became the first city in India to have 24x7 ‘Drink from Tap’ facility. But five months after the mission was launched by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, questions are being raised over its success. While hundreds of people have been affected in Baseli Sahi and Gochhikar Sahi, unconfirmed reports claimed that two persons including a woman have died of the water-borne disease so far. The woman reportedly died in the district headquarters hospital and the other, an octogenarian, succumbed at his home. 

However, the district health authorities denied the reports stating that the woman was admitted to the hospital with gynaecological problems and the elderly man was suspected to be suffering from cancer. Additional district medical officer Dr Amarendra Rath said since December 11, 28 persons suffering from diarrhoea have been admitted to the infectious disease hospital (IDH). Of them, 27 have already been discharged. No patient has been admitted to the hospital since December 17. “IDH, a facility where diarrhoea and tuberculosis patients are treated, has not yet reported any casualties from the affected areas,” said Dr Rath. 

It is being alleged that people residing in areas adjacent to the 75-metre Srimandir Parikrama project were affected by diarrhoea after drinking contaminated pipe water. The pipelines supplying water to the affected areas were damaged due to the ongoing work of the heritage corridor project. 

Following the outbreak of diarrhoea near Srimandir, the district collector, doctors and health personnel visited the affected areas. A medical relief centre has been opened to treat the affected persons. This apart, 50,000 halogen tablets have been distributed among the residents. The authorities have also replaced the pipelines damaged due to the ongoing work of Srimandir Parikrama project.

Dr Rath said apart from contaminated drinking water, diarrhoea can also be caused by consumption of unclean food and improper hand sanitation. Of the nine water samples collected from the affected areas, seven tested negative and two were moderate. In a bid to contain the spread of diarrhoea, overhead tanks and domestic water storage facilities are being disinfected. 

Executive engineer, Public Health Division (PHD) Bhabani Mohanty said around 49 MLD water is being supplied to the town daily. This apart, 200 drinking water fountains have been installed at various parts of the town. While 139 fountains have been set up along Badadanda, most of the residents in 32 wards of the town have already been given pipe water connections. 

The PHD has a mobile water testing unit and a full-fledged modern laboratory for regular testing of water samples. As per need, water samples are being tested at 24, 48 and 72-hour intervals, said Mohanty.  
After the launch of the mission, Puri became the fourth city of the world after London, New York and Singapore where clean drinking water was supplied directly from the tap. However, with reports of diarrhoea pouring in from across the town, it seems a lot needs to be done to ensure that the initiative serves its purpose. .

Emergency situation

People residing near the 75-metre Srimandir Parikrama project affected by diarrhoea after drinking contaminated pipe water

Medical relief centre opened to treat affected persons

50,000 halogen tablets distributed among residents

Authorities have replaced pipelines damaged due to heritage corridor project work

India Matters


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