Shimla continues to fight against jaundice(Yellow discoloration of the skin, especially on the palms and the soles) as more than 800 cases have been reported in the town since December 15, 2015, when shimla municipal corporation first found out that the water supplied to the Ashwani khad locality had not been treated properly.
The possible cause of the outbreak of the waterborne disease was mixing of sewage with potable water along with contamination of natural water sources.IGMC Shimla reported 10-12 average cases of jaundice daily initially with the no. increasing ever since the outbreak hit the town.
As the number of patients rose, setting the alarm bells ringing, a committee of six ward members was constituted to look into the matter.The team found out mixing of untreated water from the sewerage treatment plant in the Ashwani khad water supply scheme. Apart from this there was no treatment of water for virus causing Hepatitis neither at the sewerage treatment plant nor at the source and pumping stations at Ashwani khad.
The water supply from the Ashwani khad has been temporarily shut however this will largely affect many because Ashwani khad caters to 30% of the population.Most of the cases have been reported from Chotta Shimla,Panthaghati,Vikas Nagar,New Shimla and Kasumpti with a total of 3 deaths including a newborn infant.
As jaundice continues to spread its tentacles in Shimla, migrant labourers are still consuming water from “banned “natural sources despite the administration’s written warning.Shimla Municipal Corporation (SMC) and district administration has jointly started awareness campaign in the town to sensitise people about the disease. The MC also declared water from all natural sources as ‘Unsafe’. But only those who can afford to spend are purchasing water purifiers and mineral water, leaving the labourers in bad state.
“We have heard about jaundice, but have no other option than consuming this water,” Rattan Bahadur, a Nepalese living in Sanjauli area, said.
Though district administration has asked contractors to supply safe water to the labourers, nothing has been done to ensure its implementation.The lives of the affected rich can be saved by their pockets but the fate of the poor lies in the hands of the administration altogether.