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Probe Ordered After Covid-19 Medicines Found Abandoned in River, Hundreds of Fish Killed in J&K

Image for representation.

Image for representation.

Additional Deputy Commissioner, Bhaderwah, Rakesh Kumar, who is himself heading the fact finding team, said the hospital authorities have maintained that even the expired medicines are not thrown anywhere but properly disposed every month in presence of senior officers.

Authorities in Bhaderwah area of Jammu and Kashmir's Doda district have ordered a probe after medicines from hospital supply, worth lakhs of rupees, were found abandoned at several places along Neeru River, officials said on Sunday. The medicines, reportedly meant for the distribution among the COVID patients, were noticed by people after hundreds of fish died under mysterious circumstances and were found floating in the river near Gupta Ganga temple, Parnala and Atal-garh area, the officials said.

We have taken serious note of it and a fact finding team has been constituted to probe the incident and those found guilty will be dealt with iron hands, Additional Deputy Commissioner, Bhaderwah, Rakesh Kumar told PTI. Kumar, who is himself heading the fact finding team, said the hospital authorities have maintained that even the expired medicines are not thrown anywhere but properly disposed every month in presence of senior officers.

Neeru River is considered the lifeline of additional district Bhadarwah because it is the main source of potable water and provides water supply to dozens of troutfish farms besides being the source of income to local fishermen. "We found hundreds of strips of different medicines floating at several places and raised an alarm as hundreds of fish had died mysteriously in the recent past, Neeraj Singh Manhas, a resident of Atalgarh, said.

He said the medicines include hydroxy chloroquine, azithromycin, betamethazone, paractemol, zinc tablets having expiry of 2022. It clearly indicates that the medicines were meant for Covid patients and have been dumped in water body for unknown reasonsMay be the delivery man did not want to visit the COVID patient," Manhas said.

Demanding stern action against those involved, the locals said the responsibility should be immediately fixed and those who have committed the crime should be put behind the bars. Two trout fish farms including a trout hatchery at Gatha and Bheja village have been established on the banks of Neeru by the fisheries department besides more than a dozen trout fish farms of famous rainbow trout give employment to dozens of unemployed youth of the area.

Workers of trout fish farms have claimed that mortality rate has suddenly increased after the medicines in large quantity were thrown in the river. "Since past one week, we have been collecting and removing medicines from our pond every day. Despite all of our efforts, dozens of fish have died in last couple of days and hospital authorities are responsible for this," said Barkat Ali of Bagwan trout fish farm Atalgarh.

However, Block Medical Officer, Bhadarwah, Hamid Zargar said the hospital authorities are not responsible for this as the medicines were meant for covid positive patients and were given to the staff to deliver to the patients at their doorsteps. "This is very unfortunate incident and we are trying to trace the batch number of the medicines recovered from the river and we will also initiate a departmental inquiry on Monday," Zargar said.

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