Staff Reporter

Over 50 persons treated for fever, throat pain, stomach ache and leg pain in a single day

Officials said contamination could have been caused by mixing of sewage with drinking water

Steps taken to clean overhead tank; damaged pipelines replaced

CHENGAM: Several cases of fever were reported from Chengam in Tiruvannamalai district on Tuesday.

According to sources, residents of various areas were treated for fever, throat pain, stomach ache and leg pain. The outbreak of fever and other health problems was allegedly caused by contamination of drinking water.

Tiruvannamalai Collector M. Rajendran deputed the assistant director, town panchayat, S. Azhagarswami, to take stock of the situation.

Chengam residents blamed the local body for water contamination. Officials said that over 50 persons from various parts, including Talavanaickenpettai, Rajaveedi, Perumal Koil Street, Sivan Koil Street, Durgaamman Koil Street, Thukapettai and Senthamizhl Nagar, were treated for the ailments.

A total of 18 wards were coming under the Chengam town panchayat. Every day, the local body supplied 10 lakh litres of drinking water to all wards.

Water-borne infections were frequent in the town as several water pipelines were old and rusted.

Officials said that water was being supplied from three wells in the town. Out of the three, two were closed wells. Water from the wells was being pumped to an overhead tank and then supplied to various residential areas through pipelines.

Residents said that water contamination could have been averted, had the old pipelines been replaced. Several representations were submitted to the local body but in vain. They wanted the Chengam MLA, Polur M. Varadan, to intervene in the matter.

Officials said that contamination could have been caused by mixing of sewage with drinking water. At present, water was being supplied ward by ward for about an hour every day. Most of the pipelines had developed cracks and there were holes in some of them.

Officials also said that the contamination could have taken place in the last two days as people who consumed water in the last 24 hours were affected.

All steps were being taken to supply safe drinking water to the residents, the officials said.

Mr. Azhagarswami told reporters that steps had been taken to clean the overhead tank and the damaged pipelines had been replaced. There would not be any water contamination from Wednesday.