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Updated: July 11, 2013 14:05 IST

Contaminated water kills one, sparks blame game

Staff Reporter
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Water was sourced from borewells in a jhuggi-jhonpri cluster in Rajokri

A 36-year-old man was killed and about a dozen people reportedly took ill after drinking contaminated water sourced from borewells in a jhuggi-jhonpri cluster near the BSF camp at Rajokri in South-West Delhi.

The incident comes close on the heels of another similar case reported from NCERT Colony in South Delhi last month, in which two persons died and scores were hospitalised due to gastro-intestinal problems.

While area residents claimed water contamination was responsible for the death of Chhote Lal at Safdarjung Hospital, the Delhi Government and the Delhi Jal Board have denied the charge.

“Since Saturday, around 50 residents have fallen ill. Chhote Lal was admitted to the hospital on Sunday and died on Wednesday morning,” Chhote Lal’s neighbour Balbir said in the evening.

Refuting the charge, Delhi Jal Board chief executive officer Debashree Mukherjee said the colony in question is not supplied piped water by the Jal Board and primarily gets its drinking water through water tankers. Some residents had also started sourcing their supply from four existing borewells in the area and have hydrants to supply people with non-potable water. This water is not fit for drinking purposes and can be only be used for washing and cleaning.

Ms. Mukherjee said water lines had been illegally taken to the houses in this cluster from hydrants.

She also said there was probably contamination of water due to these illegal lines passing through drains.

Nevertheless, the official said, the Jal Board was getting the water quality assessed and has also despatched water tankers to the affected colony.

Mehrauli MLA and Delhi Speaker Yoganand Shastri said there was no incident of water contamination and termed the charges “completely false”.

When asked about the man who died, he said: “The man was a habitual drunkard. He was admitted to the hospital five to six days ago. It had nothing to do with contaminated water.”

Dr. Shastri also said that an engineer had been sent to the area to install two tubewells earlier on Wednesday and none of the area’s residents complained about any form of water contamination.

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