Staff Reporter

HYDERABAD: Job chart is the basis on which investigators are relying to fix up the responsibility of the Water Works staff in the case of deaths due to contamination of drinking water in Bholakpur in Musheerabad of the State capital.

Billed as the first ever criminal case registered after outbreak of an epidemic involving alleged negligence of civic authorities, it has thrown up numerous angles to be probed.

However, the police are focussing on ‘negligence’ of authorities concerned attracting the sections of 269 (negligent act likely to spread infectious diseases endangering life) and 304-A (rash and negligent act resulting in death) of Indian Penal Code invoked in the case.

The Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board (HMWSSB) charter states that five laboratories are working at various treatment plants under the control of Deputy General Manager, Quality Assurance and Testing wing.

The laboratory concerned will ensure chemical and bacteriological quality as far as the water treatment is concerned. Internal monitoring of the distribution network is done by the board’s staff and externally by the outside agencies like Institute of Preventive Medicine.

Based on these parameters of the Board, the investigators have set out to identify the staff in charge of the administration covering the Bholakpur area that was drastically affected by diarrhoea. “We don’t want to wash off hands by immediately arresting some employees but want to be legally correct on all aspects,” a police officer involved in the investigation said.

The primary evidence in the form of water samples were collected on the first day when deaths were reported. During the examination, the police found that scores of slaughter-houses and tanneries were being operated in Bholakpur on small-scale industry level. Photographic, video and audio evidence was collected in this regard.

Autopsy of the bodies of first six victims could not be conducted but that of the other six persons was performed by the forensic doctors. Investigators explained that they can depend on the death summary, which briefly explains the cause of the death, given by the doctors in case of the first six victims.

Primarily, the water works department, the GHMC and the Pollution Control Board have come into the purview of the case. Investigators on Tuesday reportedly found that both the PCB and Water Works authorities had already written to the GHMC about the illegal operation of tanneries and slaughter-houses in Bholakpur. But how far their operation resulted in contamination of drinking water is yet to be decided.