Traces of uranium and other radioactive heavy metals have been found in the underground water in Punjab, the government has said.
Minister of drinking water and sanitation Jairam Ramesh said that a study conducted by Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), Mumbai, and Guru Nanak Dev University (GNDU), Amritsar, has found traces of uranium and other radioactive, heavy metals in the groundwater in the state.
Though the Lok Sabha did not meet on Thursday, Ramesh said in a written reply that in 2009, GNDU analysed nearly 100 groundwater samples of 22 villages in Bathinda district in Punjab and found traces of uranium.
Subsequently, the state department of water supply and sanitation has so far sent 2,000 drinking water samples from deep public tube wells and handpumps to BARC for analysis.
"Of these, reports for 1,686 water samples have been traced, of which 261 samples show uranium concentration above the permissible limits of Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB)," Ramesh said in his written reply.
Out of 981 water samples sent to Punjab bio-technology incubator (PBTI), Mohali, for testing of heavy metals, reports of 976 water samples have been received, of which 188 water samples show heavy metals concentration in excess of permissible limits, the minister said.
He also spelt out the steps taken by the Centre for dealing with the issue.