Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal on Monday sought support from the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) to explore technology for eradication of heavy metals like uranium from the groundwater in the state.
The chief minister led a team of eminent experts and senior officers of the state administration that called on the top brass of the BARC.
The CM offered to initiate a joint programme to tackle the menace of contaminated groundwater in Punjab effectively.
Lauding the role of the BARC in the development of the country through sustained peaceful application of nuclear energy, Badal said there was need for nuclear research to strengthen the core sectors of health and agriculture, with a focus on addressing the issue of unhygienic groundwater, which had become hazardous to health of the inhabitants in southern Punjab as a majority of them were inflicted with deadly diseases like cancer.
A team of the Punjab Water Supply and Sanitation department highlighted the present scenario of the polluted groundwater in the state. It was informed that the state government had installed 1,811 RO systems in the affected rural areas to provide potable water to the public at an affordable cost of 10 paise per litre.
Extraction of heavy metals like uranium needed far more advanced, economical and eco-friendly technologies with the waste water management facility as the rejected water (residue) of ROs was again absorbed into the earth, thereby keeping the situation of contaminated water unchanged; therefore, a permanent and sustainable solution to this problem was warranted on priority.
The state government has also established a regional advanced water testing laboratory at SAS Nagar at a cost of Rs 5 crore with the technical support of the BARC, which would soon become operational.
The chief minister sought cooperation and technical support from the BARC to run and maintain the SAS Nagar-based water-testing laboratory. Badal showed a keen interest in various sections of the BARC multi-disciplinary nuclear research centre, equipped with an extensive infrastructure for advanced research and development in the field of nuclear science, health care, power generation, engineering and other related sectors.
Health and medical education and research adviser Dr KK Talwar, principal secretary health Vini Mahajan and special principal secretary to the CM, Gaggandip Singh Brar, accompanied the CM.