Lab assistant tried to stall sale of gamma irradiator

Atomic energy wing to hold awareness campaign in scrap yard

Radioactivity from cobalt-60 radio-isotopes caused India's first death due to radiation poisoning last month and send seven more to hospitals. Some of them are still critical.

Two years ago, the assistant, who does not wish to be named, stalled the first move by the chemistry department to sell off the gamma irradiator machine as scrap.

Purchased in 1968, it was used last in 1985.
The department decided to do away with some of the old equipment to create space needed for the construction of new T R Seshadri block.
The lab assistant raised objection. He told his higher-ups that it would be too dangerous to sell it as scrap.

He was overruled by the professors.
On January 20, 2010, head of the department, V S Parmar sought Vice Chancellor Deepak Pental’s permission to dispose of old equipment, apparatus and furniture. He cited support of his colleagues in the department and formed a eight-member committee to get rid of them.

Documents available with Deccan Herald shows that Pental’s permission came on February 1.

Three months later on May 1, Pental said in a press conference that he signed many files daily and could not remember the contents of each and every one.

Pro-vice chancellor nod
On February 6, the departmental committee under Parmar was notified of the permission granted. Two additional members from the engineering and audit departments were brought in the panel, which met on February 10. Five days later (February 15) Parmer received the approval of pro-vice chancellor and the disposal price.

On February 16, the auction notice was given by the Delhi University executive engineer and the auction took place on February 26.
Within a few days, the radio-isotopes came to Mayapuri scrap market poisoning as many as eight persons, most of whom barely have any knowledge on handling radioactive materials.
The department of atomic energy will be conducting an awareness campaign in scrap yard on Thursday to tell the scrap traders on dos and don'ts in their trade and how to identify these materials.
DH News Service

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