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Uranium study critical for cancer control

A study conducted by the Bhaba Atomic Research Institute (BARC) has revealed that the use of phosphate fertilisers having high concentration of uranium could be the reason for ground water contamination in the Malwa region (“BARC: Uranium cause for Malwa water contamination”, February 19).

The phosphate fertilisers are made from naturally-occurring rock phosphorite. The rock has inherent U content. Uranium gets concentrated with the use of sulphuric acid in the manufacturing process. There are other reasons as well for the presence of uranium in the region. First is the use of coal in thermal plants. Indian coal has 1.1-3.6 ppm of uranium. After combustion, it gets enriched 10 times in the fly ash. One can see heaps of fly ash dumped outside the Bhatinda thermal plant and the water ponds nearby. Wind also carries U-bearing smoke from the chimneys.

The sediment carried by rivers flowing through Shivalik rocks also contributes to uranium in the soil and water bodies. The Shivalik rocks contain 4-7 ppm of uranium. Various channels of the river system have brought U-bearing sediments and deposited them in the Malwa region.

The sub-surface granites of Malani suite exposed in and around Tusham area in Bhiwani also contribute to the U-content. The average content of uranium in granites is 4-5 ppm, whereas the Tusham granites have concentration of 8-11 ppm.

It is suggested that systematic study of uranium and other heavy metals in the ground water of Malwa region be carried out by scientists from BARC, Panjab University, PGIMER, PAU and other top research institutes.


Filling gaps

The fruits of research done by scientists are not reaching the farmers. Research should not be confined to the laboratories but should be put into  practice so that it reaches the hands where it is needed.

It is rightly said in the editorial ‘Farming and Research’ (February 22) that every farmer cannot go to the research centre to get knowledge. The agriculture scientists should approach the man in the fields to impart their knowledge to them. The farmers in return can share their practical experience and provide the much-necessary feedback.

It is a pity that the Panjab Agriculture University which gifted green revolution to the country is short of funds. If scientists working with private firms can conduct farm trials, why can those serving with the State not do the same?



The editorial ‘Farming and Research’ (February 22) very rightly emphasised the need of increasing the annual growth rate in agriculture. Qualitative and quantitative change in agencies like ‘krishi vigyan kendras’ and contract farming, coupled with motivation of farmers, can definitely do wonders with Indian agriculture. Plugging the communication gap between agriculture scientists and farming community will really be a right step. The agriculture ministry should start thinking on these lines for the 12th Plan.

Dr V K ANAND, Patiala

Lung surgery

I disagree with the writer that lung surgery is highly inadequate in India
(Lung tumours: facts and fiction, Feb 22). At Christian Medical College and Hospital, Ludhiana, patients with lung diseases, including lung cancers, TB, trauma and infection are treated. We have certified senior surgeons who besides performing the full range of cardio-vascular and endo-vascular surgeries are curing lung diseases also.

It is true that doctors are busy with cardiac patients, no patient who needed lung surgery has been refused surgery here.


Punjabi music

It is true that the Punjabi music industry has promoted vulgarity to a great extent (editorial, ‘Facing the music’, Feb 20). Punjab, which has a rich folk music and traditional aura in everything Punjabi, has off late taken an entirely different path. We are actually getting more enthralled by obscenity in every form. You pick a stone and a new Punjabi singer is discovered. Most of the Punjabi songs are vulgar in lyrics as well as visual content. It makes no sense to ban international films when we, in our own country cannot control vulgar content.


Demons on roads

Every time innocent people fall prey to heavy vehicles and rash driving, the culprits escape from the scene. A newly-wed couple and a three-year-old boy were crushed to death in two separate road accidents recently in Ludhiana. In both cases, the drivers managed to escape from the spot.

How can these ‘demons on roads’ escape by killing someone? It is quite visible that the police is functioning at its own pace; such cases are normal for them. They are busy in other tasks. The life or death of the common man hardly matters to them. Had the victims been VIPs’ kin, the culprits would have been hunted out. But in the above-mentioned cases, only a case has been registered. It is due to this laissez-faire that the drivers don’t get serious on roads.

People violate traffic rules day in and out. If rules and regulations are enforced strictly, accidents can be reduced to a large extent. Safety of the people is one of the main issues the administration should be bothered about.

Bindiya Goyal, Ludhiana



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