Ichalkaranji/Mumbai: The outbreak of Jaundice has caused havoc in Maharashtra town Ichalkaranji. Twenty-one people have died of jaundice in the last one month and over 3,500 more are still suffering. The situation is worse because the hospital in the town doesn't have an ICU.
The Kolhapur health department suspects the epidemic was caused by water department officials supplying contaminated water from the Panchganga river.
"For the last nine months, there has been a problem of water contamination in this area. Panchganga is heavily polluted. Industries form Kohlapur and Ichalkaranji dispose their waste into the river and that is the water we drink," said activist Salunkhe Suryaji.
Wards at the two government hospitals in town are at full capacity and shockingly the town still doesn't have intensive care units. Serious patients are referred to Kohlapur, which is 50 kms away.
With rising number of causalities, the state administration has now swung into action. Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan visited the town and promised ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh to the relatives of the deceased. A grant of Rs 5.5 crore will also be given for setting up an ICU in the Indira Gandhi Hospital.
Schools, colleges and restaurants in the town have been shut down for eight days in an effort to control the spread of the disease.