Contaminated water: Panic grips Malad society after 2-year-old's death

Nov 14, 2015, 07:00 IST | Sadaguru Pandit

Following mid-day’s report about the death of the toddler — suspected to have been caused by contaminated drinking water at the society — residents have been flocking to hospitals for check-ups

Panic has taken hold of the Malad residential society that had been getting contaminated drinking water for two weeks, after which a two-year-old died and several others took ill. While those who were ailing are now on the mend, hundreds continue to rush to hospital in the fear that they too will fall victim to disease.

Residents of Omkar Niwas began lining up at hospitals in the fear of falling prey to disease as well. Pic/Nimesh Dave
Residents of Omkar Niwas began lining up at hospitals in the fear of falling prey to disease as well. Pic/Nimesh Dave

In a front-page report, mid-day had revealed how illness had struck Omkar Niwas in Malad East, with over 150 residents all complaining of vomiting, loose motion and dehydration — symptoms of gastroenteritis.

Twenty-five of them had to be admitted for emergency medical care. This is suspected to be connected to the contaminated supply of drinking water in the society, and following the death of 2-year-old Vedanta Jhetva, the police registered an FIR in the matter (‘Sewage on tap turns Diwali dark for Malad society’, November 12).

The authorities have now sent the toddler’s viscera to the forensic lab in Kalina, following which the cause of death will be confirmed. Meanwhile, investigations are on in the case, but no arrests have been made.
The drinking water issue was resolved, but hospitals are still flooded with Omkar Niwas residents — whether or not they are experiencing any symptoms.

“Everybody is panicking and all of them are visiting hospitals. Initially, we had thought of contributing for the medical care of the patients and told the residents that treatment is available for free, but now everybody is visiting the hospital and the bill is huge,” said Chandraprakash Yadav, one of the residents coordinating the efforts to assist ailing residents.

Dr Sanjeev Dua, from Sai Krupa Hospital, where most of the patients went, said, “Today, we admitted five patients and now have around 30 patients from the society. People have become more aware and they are coming in large numbers as a precautionary measure. But the situation is better now, as two days ago, they would come to hospital in an almost collapsed state.”

Political match
After the death of little Vedanta, the issue became the centre of a heated political match between BMC councillor Ajit Raorane (NCP) and local BJP politician Mohit Kamboj. While Kamboj alleged that Raorane was trying to protect the builder from controversy, Raorane claimed Kamboj was trying to incite the local residents.

“On Wednesday, I met the doctors and told them not to charge a single patient. Ambulances were ferrying patients from the society to five hospitals. The residents saw who was doing all this. Then Mohit Kamboj came to the scene around 8.30 pm and started calling senior police officials. Residents abused him and asked him where he had been the entire day,” said Raorane.

On the other hand, Kamboj said, “None of the influential local NCP leaders were at the site. When I reached, the people attached with NCP started badmouthing me and that’s why I called the DCP to complain. I even sat at Kurar police station for 10-12 hours till an FIR was lodged against the builder and BMC officials. The corporator is only trying to protect the builder because he is on his payroll,” said Kamboj.

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