Leaks in supply pipelines have left residents of a major portion of the town high and dry this monsoon, compelling them to quench their thirst with water filled with mud and dirt.
The result is predictable; hundreds have started suffering from diarrhoea with Jaiprakash Narayan Hospital alone receiving 33 patients from Iqbal Nagar near Ramshila hills in the past two days. “Eighteen of them were admitted today,” hospital deputy superintendent S.Z. Ahsan told The Telegraph.
“They are suffering from diarrhoea because of drinking contaminated water,” he said, adding that the residents were prone to suffer from typhoid, jaundice and even acute encephalitis syndrome if they drink such water.
Not that the residents have an option to get pure drinking water. Sources said water supplied through pipelines has become polluted with rainwater seeping into them through the leakages.
A laboratory test of water sample, collected from Gurudwara Road, revealed that it had turbidity much higher than a human system can tolerate.
“The test conducted at the laboratory of the public health and engineering department showed that the turbidity of water is 10 times higher than the desired level and five times higher than the permissible limit. The laboratory has declared the water unfit for consumption,” a source said.
Social activist Brijnandan Pathak had collected the water sample and sent it to the laboratory of the public health and engineering department, Gaya division, for test.
The desired limit of turbidity in water should be 5 nephlo turbidity unit (NTU) per litre, while the permissible limit should be maximum 10 NTU per litre. The laboratory test revealed that the turbidity of water collected from Gurudwara Road is 50 NTU per litre, 10 times more than the desired limit and five times more than the permissible limit.
“Water with such high turbidity can contain bacteria and virus that cause diseases like diarrhoea, typhoid or jaundice,” regional deputy director health Rajendra Prasad told The Telegraph.
Anugrah Narayan Medical College and Hospital (ANMCH) paediatrics department head of department Ajoy Kishore Ravi did not rule out chances of people suffering from acute encephalitis syndrome because of consumption of contaminated water. “Around 410 children suffering from acute encephalitis syndrome were admitted to ANMCH in 2011. Of them, 94 died. This year, 20 children were admitted to ANMCH and the casualty figure was 11. It is difficult to rule out the chance of people suffering from the disease because of consumption of polluted water,” he added.
Gaya Municipal Corporation (GMC) superintending engineer Ashok Kumar Singh told The Telegraph that the civic body has launched a drive to spot leakages in pipelines.
He, however, ruled out the possibility of contaminated water being supplied from the borewell sunk at Dandibagh. He added that the longevity of a pipeline is limited to 10 to 15 years.
“Besides, there is a possibility of contaminated water of drains seeping into the drinking water pipelines. Of the three lakh people living in GMC area, nearly 60 per cent get water supply through the pipelines in the eastern, western, northern and southern parts of the township,” he added.
The engineer said the pipeline network was being expanded to ensure water supply in some parts of the town’s southern and the western parts.