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Gurdaspur water has arsenic traces
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 4
At least two blocks in the Gurdaspur district have shown the presence of arsenic in a study being carried out by expert committee commissioned by the Chief Minister, Prakash Singh Badal, in July. The content of ‘cancer causing element’ has been found in excess to the WHO prescribed limits of 10 micrograms.

Confirming the development Sanjay Kumar, the Secretary Rural Water Supply and Sanitation, said arsenic contents had been found in the water samples of Fatehgarh Churrian and Dera Baba Nanak blocks of the district. More importantly as many as 1156 water samples out of the 3500 odd collected by teams, in different parts of the state, have reported traces of unsafe contents of Uranium. These samples show the element contents above the WHO prescribed limits of 15 micrograms

A total of 7500 water samples are expected to be screened before a final report which is expected within three months.

The expert committee has been entrusted the task of tracing problems and suggesting remedial actions with regard to “unsafe” contents in drinking water. The committee had been constituted after reports of more than 1100 tubewells, supplying water, found to contain uranium and heavy metals, in excess of the limits prescribed by the WHO.

Sanjay Kumar said “it will be very difficult to comment on the exact degree of health concern without detailed inputs from the concerned departments, particularly health. Once the data compilation was complete, a comprehensive plan of action, at the state level, would follow”. He said that water samples were sent to the Bhabha Atomic Research centre (BARC) and for other heavy metals to Punjab Bio Technology Incubator (PBTI), Mohali and the state Pollution Control Board. Even against the standard of 60 micrograms set by the Atomic Energy regulated Board (AERB), at least 270 samples, as a part of the ongoing survey, have failed the test for presence of Uranium contents alone.

The Central Ground Water Board, had earlier taken at least 32 subsoil water samples, mostly from the Mansa-Bathinda belt of the Malwa region in 2010. The samples of Dhaipi, Kotra Kalan, Ghari-Bhagi and Meerpur Dhani villages showed arsenic contents above the danger levels. Arsenic presence were found to be as high as 270 micrograms at Bhamme Kalan village.


  • If inhaled or ingested, radioactivity carries the threat of lung and bone cancer
  • Arsenic, both from water supplies and medicinal preparations, is established to cause skin cancer
  • Kidney injury is the most sensitive endpoint for uranium. Once in the bloodstream, the uranium compounds are filtered by the kidneys, where they can cause damage to the kidney cells
  • Arsenic is also said to affect central and peripheral nervous systems





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