Tribune News Service
Fatehgarh Sahib, June 23
Fear has gripped residents of Challeri Kalan village located on the Fatehgarh Sahib-Patiala border as more than seven persons have died of cancer in the past more than a year in the district. Villagers say the disease is spreading due to consumption of contaminated water.
The death of two women during the past four months has raised concern among residents as no government official has visited the village, despite the matter being raised in vernacular dailies on a regular basis.
The residents claim that about seven deaths, most of them being women, have occurred since March last year. Paramjit Kaur (45), Darshan Kaur (55), Pal Kaur (60), Surinder Kaur (80), Rumal Kaur (75), Mohinder Kaur (62) and Bhola Ram (66) were among those who died of the dreaded disease.
Village Sarpanch Anoop Singh talking to the Tribune said even though the state government had constructed an overhead water tank supplying water to the village having a population of around 1,600, no official had visited the village to take the water samples for testing nor any awareness camp had been organised in this village.
Singh said water in the two ponds in the village had become polluted and started contaminating groundwater. He said the water drawn from the submersible pumps in the village was unfit for human consumption and residents have to boil the water first before making it fit for drinking. He said if they directly cooked rice it turned black in colour.
It is pertinent to mention that more than 36 persons have died of cancer in Badali Choewali, Machrai Kalan, Ferozepur and other villages in the district.
Civil Surgeon Baljit Singh said the matter was not in his knowledge, adding that a team of Health Department officials would soon visit the village to take stock of the situation. He said they would conduct tests to check the quality of water, besides creating awareness among villagers to use boiled water.
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