Punjab government on the slow track

After CSE raised the issue in 2005, the Punjab government constituted two committees, one was a High Powered Committee and the other an Expert Group. The two committees achieved nothing considerable- while the expert group held one meeting and the High Powered Committee none. The Punjab government ordered a study and immediate health remediation measures.

Later, the government had decided to formulate the organic farming policy for the area but not much has happened there either.

A house-to-house survey was conducted by the state health department in June 2005 in 4 districts of Muktsar, Bathinda, Faridkot and Mansa to know the number of cancer patients in these districts.The prevalence of cancer in Punjab as per survey is 30.54 per lakh population whereas the prevalence in India is 125 per lakh.'

The Punjab government began the Cancer Registry Program less than a year ago after the approval for Population Based Cancer Registry (PBCR) had been given by Indian Council ofMedical Research (ICMR) to Government Medical College,  Patiala. PGI, Chandigarh has received sanction for the Hospital Based Cancer Registry (HBCR) from ICMR.

The PBCR set up in Bathinda, the area with highest incidence of cancer cases in Punjab, is supposed to design suitable treatment facilities. The yet-to-be-published cancer survey has shown prevalence of the dreaded disease at 31 cases per lakh of population. The worst hit is Malwa belt, with Muktsar and Bathinda reporting the maximum incidence of cancer at 75.1 and 75 patients per one lakh population, respectively, more than double the state average. The lowest incidence of 10.8 is in Amritsar, followed by Jalandhar and Mohali at 15.1 and 14.5, respectively. The exact data is not available yet.