National Green Tribunal (NGT)’s monitoring committee member and renowned environmentalist Baba Balbir Singh Seechewal Thursday apprised Additional Chief Secretary (Health) Punjab Government Satish Chandra to provide free cancer treatment to people who were affected due to polluted river waters in the state. Baba Seechewal said that there was an alarming increase in the number of cancer patients among people who were residing along the highly polluted Kala Sanghian drain, Chitti Bein in Jalandhar and the Buddha Nalah in Ludhiana. The environmentalist also handed over a memorandum to Satish Chandra and said that the people residing along these drains were deprived of proper potable water supply. “At the same time, the water samples collected from Kala Sanghian drain, Chitti Bein and Budda Nallah have shown significant traces of chromium, nickel and other metals, which were highly poisonous. These two metals were the main reason behind the increase in number of cancer cases in this part of the state”, he said.
Earlier, the environmentalist also pointed out that the Sutlej river was already polluted and the ground water table level was also depleting fast. “People residing in these areas were forced to stay because of their houses and agricultural lands. But, lack of proper cancer treatment facilities was further adding to the woes of the people. The state government should provide free treatment to the affected people”, he added. Interacting with Baba Seechewal, the Additional Chief Secretary (Health) Satish Chandra said that he would take up the matter with Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh and visit the Kala Sanghian drain. It is pertinent to mention here that the toxic water of Kala Sanghian drain was of ‘E grade’, which was highly poisonous and a cause of spread of cancer among people. At the same time, non functional treatment plants were a major reason behind the pollution of Kala Sanghian drain, as industrial units were directly flowing toxic water into the drain and affecting the lives of people.
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