AT LEAST 46 students of the Gujarat Adani Institute of Medical Sciences (GAIMS), Bhuj, have been hospitalised with flu-like symptoms over the past two days even as students complained that water being supplied to their hostels was contaminated.
GAIMS is the first medical college to be set up under the public-private-partnership in the state. It is run by Adani Education and Research Foundation (AERF), the Corporate Social Respons-ibility (CSR) arm of the Adani Group. Billionaire Gautam Adani is the chairman of the Adani Group as well as of AERF. GK General Hospital is attached to the GAIMS.
Dr Shardul Chaurashia, chief operating officer (COO), GAIMS, said that 46 students have been admitted to the hospital over the past two days and 20 of them have been discharged. “Their illness, prima facie, does not seem directly linked to water supply in the hostel as they don’t have diarrhoea or vomiting normally caused by consumption of contaminated water. However, we are doing further tests,” said Dr Chaurashia.
He said that those hospitalised included students from the first, second and final year of MBBS course.
On Saturday, a Twitter handle by the name GAIMS Student Union tweeted videos — one of discoloured water running from taps, another purportedly showing students in hospital that said, “more than 50 students are on medication… need immediate attention to this problem”.
Another picture of rows of buckets being filled up by a tanker was tweeted with the caption: “Is it a slum area pic? This is pic from Gujarat Adani Institute of Medical Sciences. I don’t know whether we bring water whole day like this or study our medical books. If Adani can’t manage a medical college than why he opened a college. Students are getting more sick and sick (sic).” The photo posted on Sunday was widely shared on social media.
The union also posted photos of contaminated water, which it claimed was being supplied in hostel as well as a video showing students at the GK General Hospital. “The water which we get at our hostel is not clean and is extremely polluted… Even after repeated trials of filtration and complaints, this problem is not being solved,” the tweets said, claiming students have been getting contaminated water for seven months and were falling ill.
Admitting to water supply issues in the hostel since February this year, Chaurashia said, “The supply of Narmada water has been irregular and insufficient since February this year and the shortage became severe in June as more students came to the campus for offline classes. As a stopgap arrangement, we were supplying water from tubewells that has higher iron content. We requested the local municipality for more supply but apparently supply of Narmada water is limited. Hospital is our priority so supplies used to be diverted there. This created issues in the hostel.”
Dr Chaurashia said the administration has started arranging water tankers for the students. “Every building has an RO plant for purifying drinking water. The issue is more with water for other daily use. We have decided to install a filtration plant which will become operational in 25 days… in the meantime, tankers will maintain supply,” he said.
The Union said that students observed a strike on July 16 to protest against the contaminated water being supplied in their hostel.