Shimla: A sewage contaminated drinking water supply having caused an jaundice epidemic outbreak in the city, two months ago, has claimed yet another victim here.
Restaurant owner and a former treasurer of BJP party, Ashok Sood died during treatment of jaundice at PGI Chandigarh yesterday (8.2.2016).
Senior BJP leaders which included MP Ram Swaroop Sharma and MLA Suresh Bhardwaj were among those who attended victims last rites.
BJP legislators Rajeev Bindal, Suresh Bhardwaj, Rajiv Sajjal, Baldev Tomar, Suresh Kashyap, Govind Sharma, KL Thakur in a joint statement have lashed out at the Virbhadra Singh led Congress government for failing to contain the epidemic spread.
The MLAs have claimed that 6 people have died in Shimla city, Ashok Sood being the latest victim to have succumbed to this man made epidemic.
The Congress government is playing with the lives of people, the MLA say.
The situation is so grave, they say, that after Shimla, jaundice infections have spread to downstream Sirmaur and Solan districts.
Thousands (reported to range from anywhere between 5000 to over 12000 cases) have been taken ill by jaundice in Shimla and several hundred cases have also been reported from Solan city and other parts of the district and some from Sirmaur district.
Ashwani Khud, a seasonal stream that passes through the mountain ranges in these regions is believed to be the cause of the jaundice outbreak for both Shimla and Solan city draw drinking waters supplies of it.
Ironically sewerage treatment plants in Shimla city that are placed higher up in the valley along Ashwani Khud catchment area were found to be releasing untreated sewage into the valley that was contaminating the stream water.
This very water was being pumped up government laid out drinking water supply schemes for many localities of Shimla. The problem is known for many years as jaundice outbreaks have been frequently reported from localities that got supply from this scheme.
The severity this time has been more intense as deaths caused by jaundice are being reported for the first time.
Municipal Corporation, the government Irrigation & Public Health department, the HP Pollution Control Board are passing the buck from one to another and a police led special investigation team has arrested 5 people for negligence, which include engineers and a contractor who was handed the job of running the sewage treatment plant.