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KVM to ICMR: Don’t rely on state govt data

Bathinda, September 17
The Kheti Virasat Mission (KVM) today urged the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) not to rely on the data prepared by the state’s health department on prevalence of cancer in Punjab.

The demand of KVM has come during the visit of a team of ICMR to various cancer-affected areas of Punjab particularly in the Malwa belt.

Executive director of KVM Umendra Dutt said that no authentic study on the issue has so far been done and the earlier data had raised doubts instead of helping formulate some strategy to check the growing number of cancer patients.

Dutt accused the health department of having previously created a mess of the issue by doing the job unscientifically.

The Punjab government should involve the people in studying prevalence of cancer in the state to enable formulation of an effective action plan to curb the disease, he said.

He accused the health department of having tried to scuttle the outcome of the study conducted by the Chandigarh based PGIMER about cancer in 2005. The department “also discredited the PGI study and represented conclusions fallaciously”. This happened again, when the Center for Science and Environment came out with its report about the several pesticides in the blood samples of people in Punjab.

Dutt, who is striving for organic farming, pointed out that Punjab is passing through most critical situation of environmental health disaster caused by multiple-environmental toxicity. It is one of the most severe crises the people of the state are facing. Several studies done in recent past clearly indicate that the eco-system of Punjab is loaded with chemicals and its food chain contains high residue of pesticides.

Pesticide related cancers are a new emerging entity based on scientific studies. There are several experimental, epidemiological and clinical studies published recently showing relationship between certain types of cancers and pesticides. It has no bearing or parallel to the present pesticide use in India. In any case pesticides as a risk factor in specific types of cancers are cited in number of recent reports from USA and other parts of world.

Pesticides are playing havoc with ecology and public health in Punjab. This is traumatized with the distressing fact that the cotton belt in Malwa region is facing unprecedented crisis of environmental health. The abnormally high cases related to cancer, reproductive health, mental retardation, infertility and several other pesticides caused or related diseases were reported in surveys and general observations during the past few years.

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