The epidemic of jaundice has spread its fiendish claws and infected nearly 1000 people in Shimla. While some deaths have also been reported, it remains to be seen what actions, if any, are taken to ensure this does not happen again. Even when jaundice has spread so many times in the past due to human error most of the times, we somehow fail to understand why administration is negligent about ensuring people don’t get polluted water to drink.

The political parties were busy blaming each other for the mess, but the ground reality is that on an average about 60 people are falling to it every day.

The Himachal Gyan Vigyan Samiti (HGVS), an NGO, has come out with some eye opening revelation, as it claimed that two sewage treatment plants at Malyana and Dhalli were functioning with an outdated technology. Dr. Om Parkash Bhureta, HGVS president, claimed that 50 per cent of sewage was being drained from the plants into the Ashwani khud, one of the major water sources in the city.

Dr. Bhureta further claimed that the treatment plants were not equipped to treat sewage in the winter as its outdated technology can treat sewer at 17 to 25 degree Celsius temperature and become virtually non-functional in the winter, which could be the sole reason the outbreak occurs during this winter season.

Dr. Bhureta blamed the state government for failing to tackle problem, and claimed that Himachal Gyan Vigyan Samiti, since 2007, had been informing the IPH Department, health and pollution regulator and other government agencies that the plants were functioning with an outdated technology, but any of the department of the state government has failed to take any action against the plants.

Smiti has advocated for taking major policy decision for tackling the issues, and sought for upgradation in technology, efficient management system, regular and efficient monitoring of the plants. It also demanded government to take over the treatments plants for better and transparent operation.

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Rahul Bhandari is Editor of TheNewsHimachal and has been part of the digital world for last 15 years.