Water contamination case: Karnataka Lokayukta summons top officials

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Water contamination case: Karnataka Lokayukta summons top officials

Bengaluru: The Karnataka Lokayukta summoned top government officials on August 24 in connection with the water contamination case in which six persons have died and more than180 are hospitalised in the Kavadigarahatti area of Karnataka’s Chitradurga city.

Lokayukta Justice B.S. Patil stated on Wednesday that the suo moto case has already been taken, and the tragedy was painful. He also expressed concern over the development and sought a report.

The Secretary of the Department of Urban Development from Bengaluru, the District Commissioner of Chitradurga, the Administrative Director of Chitradurga Municipality, the District Health Officer, the Municipality Commissioner, AEE and Health Inspectors have been summoned to the office of Lokayukta. The concerned officials have been asked to furnish complete facts of the case with the report at his office.

The death toll in the water contamination case reported in Kavadigarahatti of Chitradurga district rose to six last week, said officials, adding that the number of persons hospitalised has also risen from 149 to 185.

The incident of water contamination was reported on July 31.

Many of those who have been hospitalised are in critical condition, according to local authorities. The latest victim is the unborn child of 22-year-old Usha. She had come to her parent’s place in Kavadigarahatti for delivery.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has ordered a probe into the incident and directed the district authorities to initiate stern action against the officers found guilty. The authorities have sent a report recommending the suspension of AEE (assistant executive engineer) R. Manjunath Giraddi and JE (junior engineer) S.R. Kiran Kumar, attached to Chitradurga Municipality. Prakash, who worked as a valve operator in Kavadigarahatti was also suspended by the district commissioner.

Meanwhile, Kannada film actor and activist Chetan Ahimsa stated that there was no clarity over what exactly caused the tragedy. “Sometimes officials maintain that it is due to contamination of water and there is a serious allegation that Dalits are targeted here. The truth must come out and there must be a transparent probe,” said Ahimsa.

“In this case, Dalits who are victims are neglected and there are glaring lapses. The water is supplied to thousands and why is the impact seen only in the locality where Dalits are dwelling? If the same incident had happened in a posh locality of Bengaluru, it would have been international news. There is negligence towards the people who are poor, the region which is away from the state capital. The government is reactive and it should be proactive. There is no answer to the question of why only Dalits are dying and getting admitted to the hospital,” Ahimsa questioned.

The latest report from the Bengaluru Medical College and Research Institute has given a report on finding cholera bacteria variants. The report also stated that five deaths had occurred due to cholera bacteria. The report by the local authorities had the same findings.

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