Sunday January 26, 2020

Rajasthan’s Pokhran Village People Near Nuclear Test Site Cry For Help

"Deformity cases have gone up in Khartoli and they can be noticed even in new-born calves. The growth of our kids has been affected"

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India's first nuclear test was conducted under then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1974 at a stretch just 10 km from Khartoli. In 1998, the country conducted its second nuclear under Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee at a site barely 3 km from the village. Pixabay

Close to the India-Pakistan border near Rajasthan’s Pokhran lies a village named Khartoli where residents are slowly succumbing to cancer, perhaps paying the price for the two nuclear tests conducted in its vicinity. However, none of the officials concerned have so far paid attention to their health travails.

India’s first nuclear test was conducted under then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1974 at a stretch just 10 km from Khartoli. In 1998, the country conducted its second nuclear under Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee at a site barely 3 km from the village.

Sanwaldan Ratnoo, a resident of Pokhran, confirmed that cancer cases in Khartoli multiplied after the nuclear tests. However, the governments of the time never took up the issue and even the 2018 Assembly elections passed off without anyone lending their ear to the pain and trauma of the people, he said.

According to Ratnoo, out of the 4,000 odd residents in the village, as many as 80 to 100 are cancer patients.

“Nuclear tests definitely strengthened India’s position in the world. However, we felt bad for the fact that no steps were taken to ensure that the villages in the vicinity of the test sites didn’t face any health risk.

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“We have approached many government officials, but they just don’t want to listen to us. For decades we have been trying to draw their attention, but all our efforts went in vain. Pixabay

“Deformity cases have gone up in Khartoli and they can be noticed even in new-born calves. The growth of our kids has been affected,” he added.

Nathuram Vishnoi, sarpanch of Khartoli village, said: “We are surprised that the site which brought national and international fame to Pokhran has been left ignored. We have seen our kids die a silent death, but nobody has leant an ear to their cries.”

“We have approached many government officials, but they just don’t want to listen to us. For decades we have been trying to draw their attention, but all our efforts went in vain.

“We have submitted memorandums to many people, including Chief Ministers and other politicians, but nothing has happened. Surprisingly, they (politicians) come here begging for votes but fail to notice our kids who have turned blind or are suffering from other deformities,” Vishnoi added.

Former IPS officer Pankaj Choudhary, who is contesting from the Barmer-Jaisalmer Lok Sabha seat on a BSP ticket, said: “Many people brought the issue of ‘radiation threat’ to my notice when I was campaigning. I have promised to look into the matter. However, I am shocked that none of the previous governments showed any interest in resolving the crisis.”

When IANS contacted Bhupendra Kumar, the Chief Medical Officer of Jaisalmer, he expressed his ignorance about the presence of any such village under his jurisdiction.

“I just joined this work station a month back and have not heard about this issue yet,” he said.

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However, the governments of the time never took up the issue and even the 2018 Assembly elections passed off without anyone lending their ear to the pain and trauma of the people, he said. Pixabay

Pradeep Gaur, the head of radiology at the SN Medical College in Jodhpur, said: “I remember a professor taking up this issue and submitting a paper on it many years back. But that was a long time ago and hence I can’t recollect much on the matter.”

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Asked if any research has been done on this issue, he expressed his inability to recall anything concrete.

Dilip Singh, a professor in the same institute, said: “I have a feeble memory of the high court ordering a research on this subject sometime ago. But I am not sure if any paper has been submitted in this matter.” (IANS)

Next Story

Here’s Why Light Alcohol Consumption Might Also Increase Cancer Risk

The researchers found an almost linear association between cancer risk and alcohol consumption

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In a study published in the journal Cancer, the overall cancer risk appeared to be the lowest at zero alcohol consumption. Pixabay

If you thought one-two drinks a day would not do any harm, think again. Researchers in Japan have found that even light alcohol consumption might increase the cancer risk.

In the study published in the journal Cancer, the overall cancer risk appeared to be the lowest at zero alcohol consumption. The elevated risk appeared to be explained by alcohol-related cancer risk across relatively common sites, including the colorectum, stomach, breast, prostate and esophagus.

“In Japan, the primary cause of death is cancer,” said one of the researchers Masayoshi Zaitsu from The University of Tokyo. “Given the current burden of overall cancer incidence, we should further encourage promoting public education about alcohol-related cancer risk,” Zaitsu said. The team examined clinical data on 63,232 patients with cancer and 63,232 controls matched for sex, age, hospital admission date, and admitting hospital. The data was gathered from 33 general hospitals in Japan.

All participants reported their average daily amount of standardised alcohol units and the duration of drinking. One standardised drink containing 23 grams of ethanol was equivalent to one 180-ml cup of Japanese sake, one 500-ml bottle of beer, one 180-ml glass of wine, or one 60-ml cup of whiskey.

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If you thought one-two drinks a day would not do any harm, think again. Researchers in Japan have found that even light alcohol consumption might increase the cancer risk. Pixabay

The researchers found an almost linear association between cancer risk and alcohol consumption. A light level of drinking at 10-drink-year point, for example, one drink per day for 10 years or two drinks per day for five years would increase cancer risk by five per cent, the findings showed.

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Those who drank two or fewer drinks a day had an elevated cancer risk regardless of how long they had consumed alcohol. Also, analyses classified by sex, drinking/smoking behaviours and occupational class mostly showed the same patterns. (IANS)