Corporation says 55-year-old Chetpet resident died of other causes; autopsy result awaited

A day after massive protests by members of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam on account of reports of cholera deaths, there were a few anxious moments at Ripon Buildings, on Thursday, following the death of a woman in Chetpet.

After the death of Jayalakshmi (55), resident of Mangalapuram Fourth Street in Chetpet, officials from the Corporation's Health Department rushed to her neighbourhood and began a slew of precautionary measures.

After preliminary investigation into the cause of death, they informed senior officials at Ripon Buildings that it “did not seem to be cholera.”

“She was brought dead at 8.05 a.m. on Thursday. We have made an entry in the accident register. The post-mortem has been conducted and we are awaiting the final report from forensic experts,” said P. Ramakrishnan, dean of Kilpauk Medical College.

Corporation Commissioner D. Karthikayan, too, said the cause of her death was not cholera. According to a press release from the civic body, Ms. Jayalakshmi had been suffering from severe breathing problems the past three days.

The level of chlorine in water in the locality was found to be adequate. Garbage was being collected and cleared regularly in the area, the release said.

Corporation Health Department officials alleged that some persons were forcing Jayalakshmi’s relatives to claim that she died of cholera.

Jayaraman, a relative of Jayalakshmi, said she did not have any symptoms of cholera. “She had complications due to asthma and suffered heart problems. She did not visit any doctor in the past six months but was on some medicines.”

In response to the demonstration by DMK cadres on Wednesday, the Corporation of Chennai released data on the number of deaths due to diarrhoea and cholera during the tenure of M.K. Stalin as Chennai mayor.

There were 53 diarrhoea deaths and 15 cholera deaths during his tenure, as per the the data released.

According to information with Chennai Corporation, 24,839 cases of diarrhoea and 8,397 cases of cholera were reported during Stalin’s tenure as mayor.

Chennai Corporation’s inquiry into the alleged role of employees in wrongly recording data on cholera deaths will be completed in two days. The Corporation will take severe action against those responsible, an official said.

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