2,600 deaths due to cancer in 19 atomic energy centres during 20 years
As per the estimates by the Centre's ongoing Million Deaths Study, Cancer accounts for around 7% of the roughly 9.5 million annual deaths in India and is amongst the top ten killers.
Reply to an application filed under the Right to Information (RTI) Act has revealed that during the last 20 years, 3,887 health-related deaths were reported in the 19 atomic energy centres across the country. Out of these, nearly 70% or 2,600 succumbed to cancer between 1995 and 2014 while the remaining 1,287 deaths occurred due to the following causes: cardiac arrest, strokes, liver failure, multiple organ failure, tuberculosis, cardio-respiratory diseases, septicemia, cirrhosis of liver, cerebro-vascular diseases, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, diabetes mellitus and hypertension. Most of the deceased in the report were between the age of 29 and 50. No cause and effect relationship has been established between the deaths and possible exposure to radiation though such a high figure has raised eyebrows. If the data is correct, it calls for a serious look into the high incidence of cancer deaths amongst the atomic hub scientists and workers.
The data procured by Chetan Kothari shows that in the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), 255 employees took their own lives during this period implying an average of almost one suicide every month over 20 years.