Monday, April 12, 2010

Mayapuri lapse: A question mark on CWG preparation

New Delhi, Apr 11 (UNI) As the city government spends crores to upgrade infrastructure for the upcoming Commonwealth Games, it will have to ensure that accidents like the recent radiation leak in Mayapuri do not mar the Games.

Panic had gripped Mayapuri Industrial area on the night of April 8 when, after coming in contact with a material, scrap dealer Deepak Jain and four of his employees showed allergic reactions and started vomiting.

The skins of two of them turned completely black. They also had burn injuries and rashes all over their bodies.

The material causing the damage was identified as Cobalt-60, a radioactive isotope of Cobalt, which is a hard, lustrous and grey metal. Cobalt is used in making colours and pigments for jewellery and paints.

In an interaction with UNI, Suneet Chopra, senior CPI(M) leader said, ''The material has been lying there for a long time. What proper screening is being done to
save other people from a similar accident?''

''If we leave the situation like this, we would not know how many shipments are still lying in the area,'' he added.

He also said the government should now institute a commission of eminent scientists to probe the incident.

''Those affected are not likely to survive since cobalt radiation has no known cure,'' he felt.

The accident has certainly raised apprehensions of the common people regarding security. With the Commonwealth Games approaching fast, Delhi cannot afford
to have such lapses.

Scrap dealers handle hazardous chemicals everyday and Mayapuri, also a site for disposal of military waste, employs lakhs of such dealers.

Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), Delhi, president Ramesh Khanna told UNI, ''It is all right to spend crores over roads and bridges but what about the
safety of people and tourists during the Games?''

''The hospital which was the source of the radioactive chemical and the government, which was responsible for security lapse, are both to be held accountable,''
he said.

Cobalt is known to have strong penetrative power which can cross anything but lead. Cabins storing Cobalt are thus made of lead.

''But junk dealers are illiterate and uneducated people. They must be taught the proper way of handling such substances,'' Mr Khanna added.

The area has been gripped by panic and many shopkeepers are avoiding to go there.
''We came to know about the radiations, so we are scared to enter the area now,'' Dinesh Goel, a Mayapuri-based printing press owner said.

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