Dhangadhi, December 11:

Over 300 Maoist People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers living in the seventh division base camp in Kailali district have fallen ill due to contaminated water, said division commissar Uddhav.

“The PLA personnel at the Badaipur camp in Kailali are compelled to drink water drawn from a tube-well,” Uddhav said, adding: “The PLA personnel living in Sahajpur and Gorange-based sub-camps have been facing the same problem.”

“More PLA soldiers may fall ill due to lack of drugs,” he said, adding: “Many PLA soldiers are also suffering from pneumonia, fever and cold. We are finding it difficult to treat them due to lack of medicines. The government is apathetic to our plight.”

PLA personnel Sangram and Bimalam suddenly fell unconscious at the Badaipur-based camp yesterday, Uddhav said. They regained consciousness three hours later after Maoist health workers provided them medical treatment.

“It was said that over 10,000 PLA soldiers will be kept in the seventh division camp. However, the number of the PLA soldiers to be kept there has been reduced to around 6000,” said Uddhav.

The PLA soldiers have been coping with lack of drinking water at the Topgachi-based camp in Jhapa also.

“Using our own resources, we installed 25 hand pumps a few days ago. But the water drawn from the pumps is contaminated,” Naresh said, adding: “The process has not yet been initiated to supply water to the camp from Chulachuli of Ilam district.”

A few days ago, an agreement was reached between the Maoists and local camp management office to supply water from Kalijhoda of Chulachuli via plastic pipes. Naresh said an estimate of the pipe needed has been made, but the installation of the pipeline has not begun.

Among other things, PLA personnel living in other sub-camps have been facing shortage of drinking water, said Maoists sources.