More NCERT Colony residents line up for medical check-up after water contamination; water sample report likely to come out today

Carrying her six-month-old daughter Tamanna in her arms, NCERT Colony resident Pushpa waits anxiously for an ambulance to take them to hospital. She suspects that Tamanna is suffering from the same water-borne ailment which has affected many of her neighbours in the past few days, even killing a couple of them.

As the wait grows longer, Pushpa breaks down and the her husband’s efforts to console her prove futile. Amid all this, one of the ambulances pressed into service for the colony since Tuesday returns from hospital. With it comes a sense of reassurance for the worrying parents who leave for the hospital.

Scenes like these re-played throughout the day in this colony on Aurobindo Marg where close to 70 residents have fallen prey to gastrointestinal disorders in the last four days after consuming contaminated water, most cases being from a particular block of Type I quarters.

Ambulances on Wednesday kept making sporadic trips to various city hospitals such as Safdarjung, Rockland and Modi in South Delhi. Safdarjung Hospital Medical Superintendent Dr. B. D. Athani said more patients were brought in on Wednesday than on Tuesday.

The Delhi Jal Board tankers visited the colony to meet its water requirement but many, whose family members joined the list of victims, said that in the rush to arrange for medical facilities, they could not store their fill.

One such family was of Priyanka, an 18-year-old college student who complained of stomach ache in the morning. She was taken to Modi Hospital but was discharged soon after.

Opposite Priyanka’s house lives the family of four-year-old Sanjana, one of the two persons from the colony to have died in the past four days – the other being middle-aged Harkishen. Though grief stricken, Sanjana’s family is deeply concerned about the wellbeing of others still admitted in the hospital.

Meanwhile, the report of water samples collected from the tanks in the colony by the South Delhi Municipal Corporation is expected to come out on Thursday.

Even as authorities wait to determine the exact cause of the contamination of the supplied water, its colour reveals a lot.

Some victims said that rain water that accumulates in the space between the tank and an outer boundary often seeps in through some pores in the tank and the manner in which a pipeline goes inside makes it impossible to place a lid on it. Repair work is on to fix the leakage in the internal distribution pipes.

NCERT Staff Coordination Committee president Ved Prakash, who lives on the campus, alleged that the water supplied by the Jal Board got mixed with the water drawn out from five tube wells bored in the area. The bore wells, he added, were dug by going against the Supreme Court guidelines. One of them was near a sewer line and so responsible for the contamination.

Aam Aadmi Party volunteers marshalled by senior advocate Somnath Bharti were seen carrying mineral water bottles to affected households. However, some did try to politicise the situation as they questioned the absence of local MLA and Minister Kiran Walia from the site.

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