Banihal July 30: A 28-year-old woman has died while over a hundred others have fallen ill in a mysterious diarrhoea and vomiting outbreak that has hit many areas of sub-division Banihal in J&K's Ramban district with locals blaming the "untreated" tap water for the outbreak.
Authorities in the Jal Shakti Department however claim that the water was "found fine and fit for drinking", even as more samples are being tested.
In-charge Block Medical Officer Banihal, Dr Shabir Ahmad Dar told Greater Kashmir that 28-year-old Razia Iqbal, wife of Sehran Wani, a resident of Halimidan, Banihal, was shifted from a hospital Banihal to Anantnag two days ago after suffering vomiting and diarrhoea.
Razia had to be shifted to SKIMS Srinagar where she died at around 2AM on Friday after extreme dehydration, the official said.
Officials told Greater Kashmir that at least 132 infected patients have had similar illness since the last few days while a dozen are still undergoing treatment at Banihal hospital and a child at GB Panth Hospital Srinagar.
As per Dr Shabir, several medical teams and medicines have been sent to the affected areas from Banihal hospital and so far 132 patients have been treated.
He further informed that 56 patients from Lambar, 31 from Kaskoot , 18 from Zinhal, 18 from Ashar, 7 from Karawa and five from Banihal town have been treated while about a dozen people are undergoing treatment.
Locals from Ashar and Lambar villages alleged that the disease outbreak had been caused by the "dirty water" coming from the water taps saying the water reservoirs also had "never been cleaned" by the Jal Shakti Department in sub-division Banihal.
They said that several feet of mud had accumulated in the water tanks and the drinking water is contaminated they said had possibly made them ill.
When contacted over the matter, AEE Jal Shakti Banihal, Anil Gupta said that the drinking water samples taken from Lambar and Ashar village for testing "have been found fine and fit for drinking and more drinking water samples are being taken in other areas including Kaskoot village".
Gupta said that work has been started to clean the water reserves and chlorinate them.