Cuddalore, 16 October 2007: More than 70 people from Kudikadu Colony were admitted in the Cuddalore General Hospital on 14th October with complaints of high fever, persistent headaches, pain in hands and legs and vomiting sensation. Members of SACEM met some of the residents at the hospital yesterday. The residents blamed chemical odour from Shasun for their health problems. Describing the odour as a strong rotten fruit like odour the residents mentioned that this odour is intense during the midnight and early mornings and that’s when their health problems are unbearable.
Most of the people admitted to the hospital on the 14th had left yesterday morning, only about 3 men, 17 women and 3 children remained admitted. It was reported that 10 new residents had come to the hospital yesterday morning, none of them were admitted though. While leaving the hospital SACEM representatives saw 3 more residents from Kudikadu coming to the hospital for treatment. According to the residents so far more than 150 people have visited the hospital in last one month. They feel that medicines administered to them in the hospital do not seem to work or the problem reoccurs as they keep coming back after a few days with the same problems. Some of the residents had been hospitalised for more than four to five days.
The Doctors at the hospital claim this to be viral fever and have been treating the patients with paracetamol, Quinine (TCQ) and Doustal. When asked why they were given TCQ, the doctors replied that they suspected dengue. Blood tests of the patients were only taken yesterday morning and so far there is no medical confirmation of the problem. When asked about the pollution and the possibility of the problems being related to that, the doctor refused to even consider that as an issue and was very sure that it was viral fever since this is the season for it and people from other villages are also complaining of the same symptoms.
The Director of Medical Services of the General Hospital told SACEM that he had ordered his officers to take water samples from the village, water supplied by Shasun and from water tank in the village and send it for testing. No air samples have so far been taken by the officials to ascertain the levels of chemicals in the air. The District Environmental Engineer of the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Baord (TNPCB) remained non committal and vague about the entire episode.