Non-availability of safe drinking water triggers epidemic like situation in Reasi

Nishikant Khajuria
Jammu, May 27: Due to non-availability of safe drinking water, an epidemic like situation has been triggered in Reasi district where hundreds of diarrhoea and dysentery cases are being reported in the hospitals thus sounding an alarming bell by the Health Department.
Around 200 cases of acute diarrhoea have been so far reported in the District Hospital Reasi and the number of patients in OPD as well as Indoor section is increasing day by day while scores of such cases are believed to be unnoticed.
The gravity of the situation can be gauged from the fact that the Medical Superintendent of District Hospital Reasi has dashed an urgent communiqué to the Deputy Commissioner Reasi urging him to instruct the concerned departments to ensure supply of safe drinking water, hygienically safe eatables and Health education to the masses so as to prevent epidemic spread of the disease.
“Even as diarrhoea cases are generally reported in the summer and rainy season because of unsafe drinking water and unhygienic eatable, the number at this time is alarming and I have requested the District Administration, Health as well as all other concerned departments like Municipal authorities to take necessary steps for preventing the epidemic spread,” said Dr P S Thakur, Superintendent of the DH Reasi.
From May 1 to May 22, 144 cases of acute diarrhoea were admitted in the District hospital. Out of these, 23 cases were of acute inflammatory diarrhoea (bloody Diarrhoea) and 121 of acute non-inflamatory diarrhoea.
The district administration was apprised of the alarming situation on May 23 but ironically even after the lapse of four days since then, there was no response for the reasons best known to the concerned authorities, sources informed.
According to the reports, major cause of the increasing number of diarrhoea cases is consumption of unsafe water in a number of areas of Reasi district.
Even after more than 70 years of Independence, maximum areas of Reasi district are reeling under severe water scarcity with the result that villagers at several places are forced to quench their thirst from the same rain fed ponds or natural resources, which are being used by the animals.
Access to clean drinking water is still a distant dream for the inhabitants of various villages in Reasi district.  For example, the people of Saranapoora village near Sarmega of Bhomag tehsil drink water from rain fed   Serli Talab where animals also quench their thirst. “Even as the PHE Department had installed pipelines but there is no water supply since years and we have no option other than to use this unsafe water from the pond,” said Mohan Lal, a local
Similarly at village Sangad, villagers are using water from the pond full of bacteria and fungus. Hamlet like Kheri, Kalha, Morha Nareh, Morha Mansoti, Ragroti, Siote, Kheri Sangad and adjoining area in Ransoo are also reeling under severe water scarcity and the villagers have to walk miles for fetching water from ponds or other natural resources, which are also drying up in this scorching heat.
“We are not able to offer a glass of water to even guests visiting our homes while only concern during the time of any social gathering or marriage in the area is how to arrange water, which is purchased at the rate of Rs 100 per drum,” said Bittu Ram of Kalha.
The villagers told the Excelsior that  pipes were laid by PHE Department around  two decades ago but there was no supply of  water  ever since.  “The officers of the PHE and other departments only pay visit to the Sarpanch and a few influential but never meet the commoners, who have no one to listen to their plights,” alleged Mohan Singh, a ReT Teacher.
Since this hilly district is mainly dependent on natural sources of water, deforestation and tunneling activities in the region are fast drying up these water streams while the nallahs are depleting in the summer with the result that scores of inhabitations remain without water supply for weeks and sometimes for months together.
Whether it is Mahore, Arnas, Dharmari or any other area, the scarcity of water is prevalent everywhere. And even where there is no scarcity, pipelines supply water directly from the source without proper filtration of the same with the result that people are forced to consume unsafe water.


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