Telangana: Hope for Bholakpur tragedy victims

After 9 years, prosecution request sent against five water board officials over death of 14.

Hyderabad: After nine years, the Bholakpur tragedy rises from its ashes to bite the civic officials. The central crime station (CCS) has sent a prosecution permission request to the principal secretary, home, of Telangana state against five water board officials, saying it was their negligence that had led to the death of 14 residents in Bholakpur due to water contamination. The residents had registered a case against the water board, and it has come alive after a long wait.

In May 2009, tragedy struck Bholakpur when 14 persons died due to intake of contaminated water. It turned out later that a deadly cocktail of poisonous heavy metals and dangerous coliform bacteria resulted in the Bholakpur tragedy.

The residents of Bholakpur had lodged a complaint against the five officials of the water board at the Musheerabad police station, within weeks, blaming them for the deaths due to water contamination. Later, the case was shifted to CCS for investigation.

After a year, in 2010, CCS arrested the five officials, including the chief general manager Manohar Babu, deputy general manager Rajasekhar Reddy, additional general manager Praveen Kumar, the Bholakupur area in-charge lineman David Raju and division in-charge Uma Maheswara Raju. However, all the five got bail.

Since then, the case was pending. Investigations took so long that out of the five held responsible, two officials have retired from the metro water board while the rest have been promoted despite the charges pending against them.

The case has now been brought alive. Said Avinash Mohanty, deputy commissioner of police, central crime station, said, “A prosecution permission against the five officials have been sent to the principal secretary – Home.

Following an approval from the home department, a charge sheet will be filed, under Section 304 (causing death due to rash or negligent act), 269 (negligent act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life), 270 (malignant act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life) and 166 (a public servant disobeying law, with intent to cause injury to a person) under the Indian Penal code.

Source have revealed that the officials have given a representation to the state government, pleading that they not be prosecuted. The file is pending with the principal secretary.

A Deadly concoction
14 Deaths
500 people hospitalised in May 2009

  • Poisonous heavy metals and dangerous coliform bacteria were responsible for the Bholakpur tragedy.
  • Residents consumed water containing coliform bacteria, that was 24,000 times in excess of the permissible limit.
  • Reports said the deaths were due to biological contamination.
  • Incidentally, the toxicities caused by heavy metals and coliform bacteria led to a synergetic effect on the health of the residents.

Arrests under sections

  • 304-A (causing death due to rash or negligent act)
  • 270 (malignantly doing an act that was likely to spread infection dangerous to life)
  • 266 (being in possession of false weights and measures for fraudulent use)
  • 166 (a public servant disobeying law, with intent to cause injury to a person) under the Indian Penal Code (IPC)

Revisiting the past

  • The worst affected areas were Bholakpur, Indiranagar, Gulshannagar, Tajirnagar, Musheerabad, Bangladesh and Lankabasthi.
  • After the incident residents pelted stones on MP Anjan Kumar Yadav’s car.
  • 7 areas were receiving contaminated water for three days.
  • Area was dotted with tanneries and sewers were not desilted.
  • Drains were choked that toilets would not flush.
  • Reports at the time of the tragedy said that officials then were aware for years that drinking water was getting contaminated at Bholakpur but waited for a contractor to construct a new pipe-line at a cost of Rs 42 lakh.
( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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