Recurring ailments puzzle villagers of Poolangulam

2 persons hospitalised each week; 25 fish released in contaminated water died BY V KRITHIGA Tirunelveli The villagers of Poolangulam (near Alangulam), are in deep trouble and confusion due to repeated illnesses caused in their village. Though the villagers argue that the illness is due to the contaminated drinking water, the panchayat chairman claims it to be the handiwork of 'some persons' who want to bring down his reputation. Since December 2007, an average of two persons are admitted tothe hospital every week due to diarrhoea and vomiting. A couple of days back, six villagers were admitted to the Primary Health Centre in Pavoorchatram with complaints of diarrhoea, vomiting and stomach pain. The villagers pinpoint the contaminated drinking water as the major cause of continuous illness. They were stunned when around 25 fish which were put in this contaminated water died recently. The village has a population of around 3,000. Two bore wells, one open well and water from a combined drinking water scheme are the sources of drinking water. The panchayat chairman, Navaneedha Samy first said, that 'some persons' had mixed an unknown chemical in the drinking water in order to tarnish his reputation for him but later said the illness was not due to water contamination but due to regular consumption of beef by the villagers. 'The villagers consume beef regularly and around 100 kg of beef is sold every day in the village', he claims. According to Ramar of Poolangulam, 'our village is going through a bad phase for months due to repeated illness caused by the contaminated water. The panchayat chairman doesn't seem to be bothered about the villagers and does not visit those who get admitted to the hospital'. The villagers want the district administration to intervene immediately and check the level of contamination. They want a strict warning to be given to the the panchayat chairman for his uncaring attitude.