It’s Abohar to Jodhpur Express having an unofficial name as the cancer train of India! The Cancer Train earned its name because it is full of cancer patients from the Punjab region in India. This is particularly related to the aftermath of The Green Revolution In India which took place in the 1960s and ’70s. This led to an introduction of American farming methods like extensive use of pesticides, fertilizers, and high-yield seeds in the farms to enrich the yield.
The Cancer Train: Mystery or Reality
Though it’s Abohar-Jodhpur Express, most of the passengers travel from Bhatinda (Punjab) to Bikaner (Rajasthan). Bathinda has seen tremendous growth in the number of cancer patients lately that it is now known to become the Cancer Capital of Punjab state.
Bikaner is one of the oldest and prime centers of treatment of cancer in India. Acharya Tulsi Regional Cancer Institute and Research Centre and Sardar Patel Medical College in Bikaner had become one of the oldest and prime centers of treatment of cancer in North West part of India.
Route & Major Stations of the Cancer Train
Reasons for Cancer Spread in Punjab
With the extensive use of pesticides in the Punjab region of India from 1950 to 1970, there is very conclusive evidence that pesticides exposure leads to various kinds of Cancers. Almost every home in Punjab (mostly near Bhatinda city), there is at least one relative suffering from some type of cancer.
A very high incidence of Breast Cancer is found in the home exposure to DDT. Pregnant women and children exposed to pesticides can suffer from various types of Blood Cancers in the near future.
Public health has been compromised since decades and the government seemed to be botherless!
“The very first indication of this pesticide toxicity was noticed when the National bird of India – Peacock – were found to be disappeared from the fields.” – says Jarnail Singh, a farmer from Bhatinda, India. And most of the pesticide exposure to the farmers resulted due to mishandling the toxic chemicals. It was exactly what Agent Orange did to the handlers during the Vietnam war.
“People have no option but to drink highly polluted water and bathe in tap water that is sourced from canals where industrial effluents are discharged with near impunity.” – said Dr. Pritpal Singh of the Baba Farid Centre for Special Children to AlJazeera.
Various studies have been conducted around the globe to link pesticides to Cancer. Some of the reports say inconclusive evidence, while most reports a direct connection between the household pesticide exposure to cancer. The highest chances of the development of cancer are when the person is directly handling pesticides in the field.
Many authorities have brought the news to the government since the last 25 years, but seldom any major step is taken by the concerned departments for the welfare of the people of the cancer capital of Punjab.
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