Chandigarh: In what may press the authorities to take steps to improve the quality of drinking water in Punjab and adjoining states, the water samples taken from them have revealed high traces of uranium.
Reports said on Thursday that the water samples taken from several districts in Punjab and tested by Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) have shown presence of uranium between 6 to 600 parts per billion (ppb), while the permissible limit is 60 ppb.
Bathinda and Moga districts of Punjab are the most affected, where the concentration of uranium is highest. Over 35 per cent of the water samples collected from Punjab has shown highest concentration of uranium than the permissible limit.
According to the BARC experts, traces of uranium have been found in water samples collected from neighbouring states of Haryana, especially in Hisar belt, and Himachal Pradesh.
The BARC experts attribute high concentration of heavy metal to presence of granite in sub-soil
In view of the above findings, Department of Atomic Energy, through BARC, had already signed a 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 has informed that BARC had conducted field experiments and used reverse osmosis technology for removal of uranium from water.
During a presentation before the state’s Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, the AEC chairman also outlined the measures for removal of impurities in water, methods to increase productivity of crops, waste management and increasing the life of crops.
The AEC chief has, however, ruled out that fertilisers were responsible for the presence of uranium in Punjab’s water.
Sinha has also categorically rejected speculations that uranium-contaminated water was the main cause of large number of cancer cases here, especially in the Malwa region.
He says, “Uranium can damage the kidneys, but there is no correlation between uranium and cancer,” adding that, “Tata Memorial Hospital will be carrying out a study to find a correlation.”
In view of the BARC report, Punjab Chief Minister has urged the experts to recommend a suitable water purification technology to improve the quality of drinking water in the state.
He has also asked AEC to send a team of water experts to suggest a time-tested technology to ensure supply of safe drinking water.
(Photo courtesy: Deccan Chronicle)