COIMBATORE: The people of CHINNAPARTHI, a tribal settlement near Kottur in Pollachi taluk, which once had a tradition of leaving human dead bodies for animals and birds to feed on, are now becoming ‘prey’ to jaundice, as they do not have clean drinking water supply.
Three people with jaundice have died in the last 45 days and over 10 are under treatment in the Kottur Government Hospital. The people blame the deaths on negligence as the three died after treatment. The hospital staff, they say, are inattentive towards them as they are tribal people.
Recent deaths due to jaundice include that of Srinivasan (24), who married just a year ago and his month-old child. His wife, 19-year-old Devi has lost all zest for life after the deaths of her husband and child. Devi was shocked to find that her baby was born with jaundice. It was admitted to the Kottur GH, died a month later without responding to treatment. Soon, Srinivasan was also affected by jaundice, and died on Monday.
“Once we had a tradition of treating ourselves. But nowadays, we go to the hospital. We are treated there for a day or two and sent back home. The staff do not treat us as equal to the other patients. We feel that this is the reason for the death of my son and husband,” said Devi. She wants clean drinking water supply for the settlement to prevent more people being affected by jaundice.
“The people of Chinarpathi once used to leave dead bodies in the forests for wild animals and birds to feed on. They used to live in harmony with nature in the forest. But now, they are not getting clean water. They have staged many protests demanding the supply of clean drinking water through the panchayat. Officials had assured to supply clean water before October 12, but nothing was done,” said V S Paramasivam, district president of the Tribal People’s Association.
Social worker R Paulin, who works among the tribal people and took them to the hospital for proper treatment, said they needed better housing and drinking water facilities. “There are 42 families living in 25 houses. So the possibility of the spread of diseases is high. They have been asking for drinking water and more houses in the village. But the government has not paid heed to their grievances,” she added.
Asked about it, Kottur GH chief Dr M Sasirekha said that they were likely to conduct a medical camp in the settlement to check the people for jaundice and to provide them treatment. Kottur Town Panchayat Executive Officer M Sivasamy said there was a proposal to lay a drinking water pipeline to the village. “We have prepared a detailed proposal to provide drinking water to the village from Aliyar. Water connection will be given to them in a month,” he added.