Tragedy Strikes Rekalmaradi Village in Karnataka as Contaminated Water Claims Toddler’s Life and Sickens Dozens

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A devastating incident unfolded in Rekalmaradi village, located in Karnataka’s Raichur district, where a three-year-old boy tragically lost his life and over 50 individuals fell ill after consuming contaminated water. The affected villagers, predominantly women and children, consumed tap water that had been mixed with drain water, leading to severe vomiting and diarrhea. Prompt medical attention was provided to the victims, with some being admitted to the Raichur Institution of Medical Sciences (RIMS) due to their worsening condition. Rekalmaradi village, home to a population of less than 2,000, faced multiple challenges in its water supply system. With six borewells running dry due to rising temperatures, the reliance on private borewells and intermittent tap water from the gram panchayat became crucial. Unfortunately, the situation took a dire turn when the underground pipeline delivering water to the taps burst, causing contamination as drain water infiltrated the supply.

Health officials, including Dr. Surendra Babu, the Raichur district health officer, expressed regret over their inability to save the young boy named Hanumesh, citing delayed hospitalization as a significant factor. While approximately 30 individuals are still receiving treatment, it is expected that all infected individuals will be discharged by Monday. The contaminated water sample has been sent to a laboratory in Bengaluru for testing. Villagers voiced their concerns, blaming the Devagurga panchayat for their negligence in addressing the ongoing issues with the water supply system.

They highlighted the lack of response from panchayat officials despite numerous representations made regarding the broken underground pipeline. However, following the tragic incident, the pipeline was promptly replaced, and the non-functional reverse osmosis (RO) plants were restored. The incident sheds light on the challenges faced by many villages in the Kalyan Karnataka region, where water scarcity during the summer months leads to the supply of tanker-delivered drinking water instead of tap water. The reliance on groundwater and the periodic disruption of tap water exacerbate the risks of contamination, highlighting the need for improved infrastructure and proactive measures to ensure the well-being of vulnerable communities.

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