Ghaziabad: A municipal councillor of the Congress in Ghaziabad poured kerosene over herself in a bid to commit suicide in protest against alleged stepmotherly treatment by the BJP-ruled municipal corporation at its office on Monday. But police personnel present there intervened and snatched the kerosene can from Congress councillor Maya Devi. The incident occurred at 11:00 a.m. at the municipal office here. Local Congress leader Zakir Saifi said, Devi who is a councillor from ward-6, was protesting against “stepmotherly treatment” towards the party’s municipal councillors and especially her. Also Read – Cylinder blast kills mother and daughter in Karawal Nagar The city Congress unit along with its councillors protested at the main gate of the municipal office and forcibly locked the main gate for over two hours disrupting work. They also staged a ‘dharna’ and shouted slogans against the mayor and the municipal commissioner. The Congress councillors alleged that over the last six months, Devi has been urging Municipal Commissioner Dinesh Chandra and Mayor Asha Sharma to get the stormwater drain in her ward cleaned before the monsoon as it is choked with silt and filth. But they said the officers and mayor did not pay heed to her demand. She had threatened that if her demand is not met she would commit suicide at the gate of the municipal office.
Unsafe water and poor sanitation are killing almost 55 children every day in Mozambique, a country plagued by one of the highest child mortality rates in the world, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said today. Cholera – which thrives where filthy water stagnates – is still endemic in parts of the country, and the threat of the disease looms over the most vulnerable children, UNICEF said. Over the past nine months, 12,433 people were treated and 109 people died from the disease. According to UNICEF, of every 1,000 children born in Mozambique, 246 die within their first five years, with 13 per cent of these deaths directly attributable to a lack of access to clean water, proper sanitation and poor hygiene practices. “This translates into 55 children under five years of age dying every day from diarrhoea. Thousands more are at risk because of cholera, infections caused by dirty water, and inadequate sanitation conditions if conditions are not improved and work is not speeded up,” UNICEF warned. A study conducted in November 2002 showed that 25 per cent of households surveyed were spending more than an hour every day to reach their water source. Efforts to obtain fresh water place enormous strains on family members, particularly women and children. “These chores fall heavily on children, particularly girls, preventing them from attending school. Furthermore, many schools have no latrines. The lack of privacy spells a powerful deterrent for parents to keep their daughters out school,” UNICEF said. In rural areas, only 26 per cent of the population can get clean water, while 29 per cent have access to latrines. UNICEF has responded by providing the Government’s public works department with funds and chlorine for emergency water treatment, and has implemented massive hygiene promotion campaigns.