Sharmili Mallick

At least two people have lost their lives in the space of two days while 28 others have been taken ill after suspected food poisoning following a feast at Bakharakata village under Dharakote block of Ganjam district.

A team of physicians from MKCG Medical College and Hospital has carried out ground zero assessment to find out the reason behind the outbreak of water-borne infection.

All sick villagers have been shifted to Dharakote Community Health Centre. As many as 11 people from Bakharakata village were hospitalised on Monday night while the rest were admitted yesterday.

Locals suspect the victims to have suffered food poisoning after consuming prasad during a temple feast in the area. 

Notably, danda jatra is underway at several villages during the ongoing month of Chaitra. Bhoga and pana are served as part of rituals at different temples during the period. 

Danda Jatra is one of the most important traditional folk festivals organized in different parts of South Odisha particularly in Ganjam district.

Danda begins on an auspicious day before Chaitra Sankranti or Meru Parba with traditional worship and fasting. The total number of days for the festival is 13, 18 or 21 days. All the participants in the fest named as 'Dandua' lead a pious life and bear physical sufferings during the fasting days.

(Edited By Suryakant Jena)