The Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) is considering the possibility of leakage in pipelines that may have led to contamination of water. The civic body health department has decided to keep all its health units in Baghajatin area open during this week to provide medicinal aid to the affected. At a time when around 700 people have been affected with diarrhoea at Baghajatin in south Kolkata, the KMC is yet to trace the root of the problem which led to the outbreak of the disease.

While the residents of the affected area alleged that contamination of drinking water is the cause for the outbreak, the civic body, based on tests conducted on the water samples, continues to claim that no traces of any contamination of water has been found yet. Samples have been sent to the School of Tropical Medicine, the reports of which are yet to arrive. The member, mayor-in council, health, Mr Atin Ghosh, on Monday said: “We are not ruling out the possibility of a leakage in pipelines that might have been caused during underground repair works.

A leakage could lead to contamination. Kolkata is an unplanned city. There are several networks of public utility service lines ~ telephone, gas, mobile network, sewerage ~ that run underneath every road in the city. All the agencies whose lines are running underground carry out several works throughout the year.” “It has been instructed by KMC that in case of any damage caused in the underground pipelines while working, the agency should immediately inform the civic body. However, we are seldom informed about such matters and hence the possibility of a leakage cannot be overlooked,” said Mr Ghosh. On another hand, when KMC has claimed that no traces of contamination could be traced from the water samples, Dr Ajay Chakraborty, state director of health services, on Monday held contamination of water to be the cause behind the outbreak of diarrhoea. He instructed people to boil the water before consumption.

While the Baghajatin area remains affected with diarrhoea, insects found in drinking water on Monday have paved way for panic in Santoshpur. Some of the residents alleged that they found insects floating in the drinking water. Talking about the number of patients that turned up at the healthcare centres on Monday, Mr Ghosh said: “On Monday, a total of 173 people visited our healthcare unit from all the six affected wards. This is a reduction in number compared to the previous days.

Out of 42 patients admitted in the Baghajatin hospital, 20 patients have been discharged from the women’s ward. Out of 73 people in OPD, 72 have been released. Awareness campaigns are being carried out in the affected area. Alongside, we are also keeping the health centres in the affected area open throughout this week.” The Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) today staged protest outside the KMC headquarters alleging that the civic body is downplaying the issue and suppressing facts. A member of BJYM said: “We demand an answer from the KMC regarding what initiatives are being taken to alleviate the problem.”