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Pollution in Budda Nullah - 7 of family fall prey to hepatitis



Belonging to a landlord family of the village, she now lives with her two-year-old daughter Parneet Kaur.

The nullah flowing near her village is full of toxic industrial effluents and sewage which has contaminated underground drinking water.

“The disease snatched my husband Gurpal Singh, who was only 30 years old, on September 31 last year. His sister Manjeet Kaur (25) and brother Ajmer Singh (27) also died due to Hepatitis B in past one year,” she says.

The family spent Rs 50 lakh on treatment at various multi-speciality hospitals, no one survived.

Her parents-in-law Avtar Kaur and Jagjit Singh, her husband’s aunt, Kulwant Kaur and uncle Malkiat Singh died of the same disease. Several residents of 168 villages lining the nullah have also died of kidney ailments and water-borne diseases.

Nearly two dozen residents of Wallipur village, where the nullah flows into Sutlej River, have died of such ailments over past six years. “The number is higher but we can count at least 25 deaths on our fingertips,” said Harbinder Makkar, a resident.

Respiratory disorders due to the smell from the nullah are common among the children in these villages. “Some children are born with congenital defects, which the doctors say is caused due to pollution,” said Manpreet Singh, a resident of Gaunspur. He apprised environmentalist Baba Balbir Singh Seechewal of the deaths due to pollution during his visit to the village after hearing about the tragedies in Gurminder’s family.

Seechewal examined a sample of the water taken from a village Gurdwara with a portable tester and found the level of ‘Total Dissolved Solids’ at 1200 against the permissible limit of 500. He promised to take up the matter with the government. PPCB officials also took samples of drinking water from the spot. PPCB XEN RK Goel said the test reports would come on Friday.

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