Ramakanta Biswas

Panic gripped the pilgrim town of Puri following the outbreak of suspected diarrhoea with many people falling ill after allegedly consuming contaminated water. 

Ironically, Puri, in July 2021, became the first city in India to receive a 24/7 quality drinking water supply under the Odisha government’s ambitious 'Sujal- Drink From Tap Mission'.

As per sources, the suspected cases of diarrhoea have been reported from some slum areas under Puri Municipality since December 11. Two persons have so far died of the suspected water-borne disease. 

Padmacharan Khuntia, who was down with suspected diarrhoea since December 12, succumbed last night. Khuntia’s family members alleged that he died of diarrhoea. 

“My father’s health condition worsened after consuming contaminated water. After undergoing treatment for four days, he passed away last night. All people in the slum are affected due to water contamination and it cost my father’s life,” said Purnachandra Khuntia as he burst into tears.

Earlier, a woman servitor named Basanti Das succumbed to the water-borne disease while undergoing treatment at the district headquarters hospital. 

Meanwhile, bleaching power was applied near the water sources in the affected slums on Saturday. A special team of district administration also conducted a survey in the slums to find out the cause.

“I appeal to the residents to immediately visit hospital if they have any symptom of diarrhoea. All arrangements are in place at hospital to provide speedy treatment to them,” said a doctor.  

He said 23 affected people received treatment at the hospital since December 11. “Now only two patients are under treatment. No death has occurred at the hospital so far,” he added.

Reported by Madhusudan Mishra, OTV