Bhubaneswar: Chief minister Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday announced a slew of measures following an outbreak of jaundice in Odisha's Sambalpur town where 17 people have died since May and 1,547 infected by the disease.
Accompanied by chief secretary GC Pati, the chief minister visited the area and reviewed the situation with the key officials at the district headquarters town, about 320 km from Bhubaneswar.
Pattnaik said his government has been taking all necessary measures to prevent further spread of the disease.
Announcing a Rs.100 crore package for an underground piped water supply project for the town, the chief minister said all the major nullahs that drain into river Mahanadi will be renovated.
He said the government will bear the cost of the examination and treatment of those infected by jaundice. He also said adequate number of toilets will be constructed in different parts of the town to stop people from defecating in the open.
A poor drainage system and damaged water supply pipelines appeared to be the main reason behind the jaundice outbreak and spread of the disease in the town, having a population of nearly two lakh.
Due to leakage in the rusty water supply pipelines, the drain water seeped through and contaminated the drinking water.
Twenty-four new cases of jaundice were confirmed Wednesday in the town, pushing the total number of the waterborne disease in this district headquarters town to 1,547 since May.
"Twenty-four new people were found suffering from jaundice Tuesday. The death toll due to the disease, however, remained unchanged at 17," chief district medical officer J.K. Samantaray told IANS.
"Since jaundice virus takes several days for incubation, it may take some more days to control the situation fully," the health official said.
Non-government organisation Water Initiatives Odisha (WIO) said the Mahanadi river, which supplies water to the city, has been heavily polluted as huge quantities of sewage water and solid waste is discharged into it.
At least 40 percent of the city residents defecate in the open. Over 10,000 people defecate every day on the banks of the river, WIO convenor Ranjan Panda said.