Punjab government to test water samples for uranium contamination news
15 February 2011

Acting on persistent reports of rising cases of cancer and kidney-related disorders, from suspected uranium contamination of water sources, the Punjab government yesterday gave clearance to testing of water samples of tubewells, fed by underground water tables.

Water samples from tubewells in all districts, especially in the rural areas, of the state would be tested for uranium and other heavy metals.

Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal said in Chandigarh that water samples from the tubewells would be collected and tested at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), Mumbai. He added that the government had directed the water supply and sanitation department to start working in this direction.

He said the water samples would be tested in a phased manner within the next six months.

The chief minister has also asked the principal secretary (health) to coordinate with the director of Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) in Chandigarh to conduct a research study on the adverse effects of uranium-contaminated water.

Many cases of cancer and kidney-related disorders have been reported from Bathinda district of Punjab. According to official records, 199 water samples from Bathinda, Mansa, Ludhiana, Moga, Ferozepur, Faridkot and Muktsar districts had been tested at BARC.
According to a government spokesperson, analysis of the collected samples revealed high levels of uranium in water samples from 38 tube wells.

The official said reverse osmosis (RO) plants were being supplied to people to give immediate relief.

According to experts, heavy use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides, over many years, has led to contamination of the underground water table from chemicals that have leached into the supplies.

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Punjab government to test water samples for uranium contamination