Sibal blames DU for radiation

UGC to frame norms on radioactive use

Sibal blames DU for radiation

The minister blamed Delhi University for the negligent manner in which it disposed of a radioactive substance that subsequently caused India’s first radiation death.
Sibal asked UGC chairman Sukhdeo Thorat to frame guidelines on “procurement, handling, storage, use and disposal” of hazardous material used for research in universities.”

The hazardous materials include both chemicals as well as radioactive substances.
The ministry will write to all other departments dealing with research to have a common guideline in place, sources said. If implemented, it will possibly be the first time that the UGC will look at handling hazardous material in a systematic way across all universities.
An exhaustive regulatory exercise will be undertaken to streamline the entire procurement, handling and disposal process.

The minister, however, preferred not to comment on whether the ministry will consider removing Vice-Chancellor Deepak Pental who publicly apologised for the careless and negligent manner in which the radioactive material, Cobalt-60, was disposed of, leading to the death of one person and hospitalisation of several others.

Inquiry

The Delhi University Teachers Association demanded a visitorial inquiry of the auction to fix responsibility. It alleged that the probe ordered by Pental would not be sufficient. President Pratibha Patil is the University Visitor.

The vice-chancellor formed a three-member panel headed by former Delhi University physics professor S C Pancholi as the chairman to probe the entire issue.

The university, meanwhile, has announced a compensation of Rs 8 lakh and a job to the widow of the deceased, Rajender Prasad, who succumbed to radioactive injuries on Monday night. “Delhi University accepts moral responsibility for the tragic occurrence of exposure to radiation leading to severe harm to six individuals, one of whom has succumbed to the exposure,” the university said in a statement.

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