Rising cancer cases figure in Punjab assembly

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Chandigarh, Mar 19 (UNI) Expressing concern over the rising cancer cases in Punjab, Health Minister Laxmi Kanta Chawla advised the members of state Assembly today to check the excessive use of fertilizer and chemicals in agricultural fields.

She made this request during question hour when Kanwarjit Singh Brar (Cong) brought to her notice the increase in the number of cancer cases in the Malwa belt. He refered to the recent deaths due to cancer in Bhuttiwal village in Muktsar district.

In her reply, Ms Chawla said that four deaths due to cancer had taken place this year. However the Congress member contested this claim and claimed that 37 deaths due to cancer had occured in the village.

The Minister pointed out that a 2005 survey had shown that there were 52.2 per cent cancer patients per lakh population in Punjab as against the national percentage of 70 per cent. The intake of drugs, tobacco and meat should be checked in the state besides of course the groundwater quality has to be improved, she added.

Regarding the groundwater quality, she said that efforts were on in this direction and a rural water supply scheme for safe drinking water had been launched at a number of places in the cancer prone Malwa belt. The Reverse Osmosis project is ready in Gidderbaha in Muktsar district, she added.

She informed the House that two cancer hospitals under Private Public Partnership (PPP) would come up at Mohali and Bathinda. The project would be launched soon, she added.

The Minister said that the latest equipment for detection and treatment of cancer was being installed in the government medical colleges at Amritsar, Patiala and Faridkot.

UNI HS VN1924

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