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Threats from uranium in water

It is a matter of grave concern that water samples from Punjab have confirmed the presence of uranium according to tests conducted at the Bhabha Atomic Research Institute (editorial “Uranium in water”, July 9). Water in some villages of Punjab has become toxic due to the seepage of pollutants in the ground water which have indirectly entered the food chain.

Not only uranium, traces of other metals such as mercury, manganese, zinc and copper have been found in water and vegetable samples. The poison that flows down the state’s rivers and nullahs is playing havoc with people’s health, but the efforts to deal with a problem of such alarming enormity have been dolefully inadequate. Punjab has failed to prevent the flow of toxins into its rivers, nullahs, choes and canals. Apparently, Punjab is sleeping over the lurking danger as the government has not shown the much needed interest in controlling the serious issue.

There is no dearth of laws to curb pollution, but because of apathy, corruption, lack of political will and ineffective enforcement of laws, successive governments in Punjab have failed to make the district administration implement policies formulated to contain water pollution.

The excessive use of fertilisers and pesticides over the years has its repercussions but no one seems to know how to reverse the process without causing losses to an already indebted peasantry. Contaminated water has become Punjab’s bane, and much of the harm is being caused by industrial units.

The immediate concern of the people is cancer especially affecting the Malwa region. A few existing water treatment centres have failed to win people’s trust. Most of the harmful contaminants can be filtered out by installing reverse osmosis units. It is an expensive option and the state requires the Centre’s help in setting these units. It has been very rightly mentioned that the Punjab government should make a comprehensive study of water contamination and send a proposal to the Centre for financial and technical assistance.

A sustained and vigorous awakening campaign highlighting the hazards of impure drinking water and its affects should be launched in the rural areas of Punjab. Checking water quality flowing in water drains, municipal water supplies, proper disposal of sewage and treatment of effluents before discharging them into water bodies can be some of the remedial steps to restore water quality.

Dr SK AGGARWAL, Amritsar

Engineering blues

It was sad to know the plight of engineering colleges of Punjab (editorial “Engineering woes”, July10). While lack of facilities can be tolerated to some extent, lack of faculty is worrisome. This is because the parents spend their hard-earned money to provide profession-based education to their children and if it goes waste, it can be devastating. The PTU should give warnings to erring colleges and withdraw its affiliation wherever necessary.

Already industry in Punjab is suffering from lack of skilled manpower. In this scenario, if the colleges continue to roll unskilled manpower, the day will not be far when Punjab will have to depend for good engineers on other states.


Diplomacy trap

Views of Lt Gen KT Parnaik Northern Army Commander must be seriously considered as there is a cause of worry and caution on China-Pakistan nexus (Arun Joshi’s article “No thaw till Pak signs line on map”, June 10).

Pakistan wanted to solve the problem with India which active support from China. This should not be accepted at all.

Pakistan has never stood by ceasefire argument on LoC. It has neither stopped ceasefire violation nor infiltration. important posts like Pakistan’s Quaid Post which was captured by Param Vir Chakra Capt Banta Singh should remain under India’s control. Once we withdraw and Pakistan takes over the heights, it will be near impossible to recapture these positions. Hence India should not fall into the diplomacy trap of Pakistan.


Partition a cause for terrorism

VK Kapoor’s middle “Talks with a taxi driver” (July 9) is a pragmatic reminder of the tryst with destinies of the two most important countries of the sub-continent so cleverly scripted by our ex-colonial powers in 1947. Partition, thoughtless and meaningless that it was, turned out to be a tryst with doom for Pakistan and pseudo democracy for India. The two neighbours have squandered trillions on manning the borders but earned a rich crop of terrorism which is difficult to weed out now.

Post World War II, major world powers had exhausted their energies and resources, the undivided subcontinent could have stolen a lead in world affairs and advanced growth by a couple of decades. Perhaps such democracies have a built-in system towards self-destruction.

Prof MOHAN SINGH, Amritsar



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