In the absence of protected water supply schemes, consumption of contaminated water has become inevitable for the hapless inhabitants of the agency areas of Adilabad district.

Drinking polluted water has started showing its impact as five Gonds of Kasipet mandal have died in the last few days, according to CPI floor leader in the Assembly Gunda Mallesh.

At many places, tribals draw muddy water from dried up open wells thereby putting themselves at risk of contacting deadly diseases. These include thousands of wage-seekers working under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) in Jainoor, Sirpur (U), Narnoor, Utnoor and Indervelli mandals.

As they cannot avoid wage earning activity, the labourers have hardly any time to walk long distance to a safe drinking water source early in the morning or to make the water potable by boiling and filtering.

Pollution notwithstanding, they make do with the meagre water found in local open wells.

“The extremely hot weather makes it imperative for our people to reach work sites rather early in the morning. So, they get up early and fetch as much water as they can from sources that are close to their habitations,” explains Pusan Baji Rao, sarpanch of Pipri gram panchayat in Narnoor mandal.

Use plastic containers

The only precaution women take while drawing water from the open wells is the use of plastic containers as against metal buckets that invariably stirs the ‘puddle' of water and makes it more murky.

Pipri, Gowri, Kolama Loddiguda, Loddiguda and Budha Maharguda on AP-Maharashtra border in Narnoor mandal are some of the villages where wage-seekers have been found drinking water that is not potable. Labourers from Daboli gram panchayat, Garenguda, Busimetta camp, Kondapathar and Guda Mamda in Jainoor and Khamguda, Pangidi Powerguda, Kakadloddi and Chorpalli in Sirpur (U) mandals also face the same predicament despite the government initiating supply of water through tankers at some of these places.

“We have asked them to ensure sedimentation and heating up of the water before consumption. There are sufficient number of chlorine tablets at the primary health centres,” asserts Adilabad Agency District Medical and Health Officer (DMHO) Thodsam Chandu, a doctor, who nevertheless, expressed surprise that diseases had not broken out so far.