BHAWANIPATNA: Twenty-one people, including four children, have died due to different reasons in the last one month in the 16 villages under Kalahandi’s Talnagi gram panchayat.
Villagers told the media that diarrhoea and fever claimed four persons each in Padepadar and Litimaska villages, five in Karbadi, three in Bhurburi Temra, two each in Bhitardanga and Jhiri and one in Tal Temra.
But the district administration has confimed 15 deaths since May. The deaths were due to pneumonia, chronic illness, cerebral malaria and old age, said chief district medical officer Brajakishore Brahma, who on Sunday led a team to the villages to inquire into the reasons of death.
A 22-day-old premature baby died due to low birth weight and a seven-year-old child also died due to respiratory problems, he said, adding that sufficient medicines have been provided to the villages in Thuamul Rampur block cut off throughout the year by the Indravati reservoir.
He said the district administration has opened a medical aid centre at Talnagi village from where doctors are being ferried to inaccessible areas. ASHA workers have been asked to provide medicines to the villagers, while anganwadi workers have been asked to supply nutritious food to the children regularly. Anganwadi and ASHA workers will be suspended if villagers complain about their absence, the CDMO said.
Local leaders have blamed the lack of facilities and the location for the problems. “The villagers use the water from the reservoir to drink. This has resulted in chronic illnesses,” said senior Congress leader Bhakta Charan Das. Also, it is difficult to ferry the villagers to the Indravati project hospital at Khatiguda across the Indravati from the cut-off area, said Dilip Kumar Das, member of a local NGO.
Admitting that the area is inaccessible making it difficult to monitor the situation, collector (Kalahandi) Brundha D said, “Health officials have been instructed to monitor the situation closely for a month and the block development officer has been asked to dig sanitary wells in the cut-off area.”