Even as the cholera outbreak has been triggering concerns in Rourkela, a row has ensued over the number of casualties. While official sources put the death toll at 6, unofficial reports suggest the number to be much higher at 13.
According to sources, three cholera-hit people succumbed during their treatment at Ispat General Hospital (IGH) while the three others died at another hospital. Moreover, another person reportedly died at home taking the death toll to 13, seven higher than the official figure of six.
However, it is alleged that attempts are being made to suppress the exact number of casualties caused by cholera. The water-borne disease is allegedly spinning out of control with the number of deaths increasing.
As per reports, cholera is also spreading in some areas on the periphery of the Steel City. Speaking to media, a woman, alleged, “The water being released by Watco is completely contaminated. The company is apathetic towards the issue and playing with the lives of the people. Muddy and dirty water is coming through pipes.”
He also accused the administration of doing little to alleviate the problem while more and more people are getting affected by cholera and admitted to hospitals.
Meanwhile, Health Secretary Shalini Pandit and Health Director Niranjan Mishra visited the Steel City and took stock of the situation in the affected areas. Pandit assured that the outbreak of cholera will be brought under control in two to three days.
Our Rourkela correspondent asked the Health department secretary during her visit to the RGH about the number of casualties, but she reportedly kept mum on the issue.
However, she addressed the media later saying, "After taking stock of the situation, we found that it has been stable since yesterday. Cholera cases are not growing. Though new cases are coming up, they are not critical cases. We have stepped up the testing of water and food supplies. Water purification has been done.”
New patients are being admitted with mild symptoms and released after minor treatment. In the next two or three days, the situation will be normal, she added.
On the other hand, Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan wrote a letter to Union Health Minister, Mansukh Mandaviya seeking urgent central assistance to Rourkela and nearby affected areas in Odisha to control and address the recent outbreak.