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‘Uranium content 10 times higher than permissible limit’

BARC attributes high concentration of heavy metal to presence of granite in sub-soil

Written by Express News Service | Chandigarh |
July 12, 2012 5:06:32 am

BARC attributes high concentration of heavy metal to presence of granite in sub-soil

Water samples collected from districts in Punjab and tested by Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) has revealed traces of uranium between 6 to 600 parts per billion (ppb),while the permissible limit is 60 ppb. The highest concentration of uranium was found in the districts of Bathinda and Moga. Over 35 per cent of the water samples from Punjab had more uranium than the permissible limit. Experts informed that uranium was also present in neighbouring states of Haryana — especially in Hisar belt — and Himachal Pradesh.

Department of Atomic energy through BARC had already signed an MoU with the Guru Nanak Dev University (GNDU) Amritsar for the analysis of water in the state.

Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC),R K Sinha stated that BARC had conducted field experiments for removal of uranium from water through reverse osmosis system that is custom-made for the purpose. In a presentation to Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal,on Wednesday,Sinha outlined the measures for removal of impurities in water,methods to increase productivity of crops,waste management and increasing the life of crops.

Sinha said that fertilisers were not the cause for the presence of uranium in Punjab’s water. “The main cause are granite rocks in the sub-soil,” he said adding that the Himalayan region has a higher concentration of granite rocks and that through the process of leaching,the uranium can enter the water.

The AEC chairman,however,denied that uranium was the cause of large number of cancer cases especially in the Malwa region. “Uranium can damage the kidneys. However,no correlation has been found between uranium and cancer. Tata Memorial Hospital will be carrying out a study to find a correlation,” said Sinha.

Badal meanwhile urged the team to tie up with the state government for recommending a suitable water purification technology to improve the quality of drinking water in the state. He asked Sinha to send a team of water experts to suggest a time-tested technology to ensure supply of safe drinking water.

Sinha said that they discussed the feasibility of setting up a nuclear power plant in the region with Badal in addition to mutant breeder seeds and advance technology for increasing productivity of crops. Scientific methods for increasing life of storage of crops were also discussed. Sinha said that the presentation also included discussion on a biodigestive technique for taking care of kitchen waste.

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