Karnataka: 6 killed, hundreds hospitalised in Tumakuru temple fair water contamination

The tragedy unfolded during a weeklong annual temple fair dedicated to deities Lakshmidevi and Kempannadevi, the youngest victim being a three-year-old girl who died on June 12.
Representative image of water tap
Representative image of water tap
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A tragic incident of water contamination during a temple fair in Karnataka’s Tumakuru district has resulted in the death of six people, including a three-year-old child, and hospitalisation of at least 110 others. The contamination was reportedly caused due to the poor maintenance of an overhead tank.

The tragedy unfolded during a weeklong annual temple fair dedicated to deities Lakshmidevi and Kempannadevi, which began on June 9. By June 10, more than 50 attendees, including children, started experiencing severe diarrhoea. Among the first casualties was an 85-year-old woman named Hanumakka. The following day, two more elderly individuals –Nagamma (89) and Nagappa (85)-- also succumbed to their symptoms. The youngest victim, a three-year-old identified as Meenakshi, daughter of Manjunath and Jayalakshmi, died at a private hospital in Madhugiri town on June 12, along with Chikkadasappa (76) and Peddanna (74).

Dr Sreenivas, the Taluk health officer, told the media that laboratory tests of water samples from the overhead tank revealed significant contamination. He warned residents not to use water from the tank, leading to the district administration cutting off the tap water supply to the village. Alternatively, potable water is now being distributed through tankers, and citizens are advised to boil all water before consumption.

The hygiene of drinking water from the overhead tank has long been contested due to neglect and lack of maintenance. In light of the recent tragedy, Panchayat Development Officer (PDO) BV Muniraju and waterman S Nagaraju were suspended on June 13 for dereliction of duty.

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