Twelve more people were taken ill Saturday after drinking water from a river contaminated by toxic industrial chemicals in Tripura, taking the total number of people down with poisoning to 48.
"The state government has taken measures on a war footing to make the river water fit for human consumption and check the number of affected people," said Sunil Bhowmik, chief engineer of the state's public health engineering (PHE) department.
The affected people, mostly children and women, were admitted to the Gobinda Ballabh Pant Government Medical College and Hospital and the Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital here.
The condition of four children and two women were stated to be serious.
According to Bhowmik, officials, engineers and scientists of the PHE, Tripura State Pollution Control Board (TSPCB) and health departments were working round the clock to bring the situation under control.
"An illegal painting industry unit spilled a chemical called 'Lindan' in the Howrah river at Kashipur, near here, leading to the contamination of the water," Tripura State Pollution Control Board scientist Mihir Kumar Das said.
Villagers complained of vomiting and respiratory distress after drinking the river water. A health camp was set up in the affected area to treat the victims.
Police arrested the owner of the unit, Raju Ram Sau, and said the unit's clearance certificates had expired long back.
Twelve more people were taken ill Saturday after drinking water from a river contaminated by toxic industrial chemicals in Tripura.