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SIKH INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2010: SHORTS
Cancer Express
Director/Producer: Reema Anand

The Abohar-Jodhpur passenger train begins its journey from Abohar at 7:40pm, and passing through Pakki, Malout, Gidderbha it reaches Bhathinda around 9:30pm. From Bathinda, it picks up around 60 to 70 patients every week and reaches Ramanal, weaving through Gursar Shenewala, Sangat Mandi, Bagwali and Mandi Dabhwali in Punjab’s cotton belt before entering Haryana and arriving in Rajasthan.

The cotton belt, which gave life to many after the green revolution, suddenly turned into a monster, gobbling up many an innocent life. The villagers could not understand the changed ecology and health scenario.

Several deaths occurred in every village. As many as three generations were wiped out in single homes. The doctors could not diagnose the cause; cases were referred to district hospitals but they too could not figure it out. Ultimately these patients were rushed to Acharya Tulsi Regional Cancer Treatment and Research Institute in Bikaner. There the truth was partially uncovered: the patients of Malwa Belt were suffering from cancer. The truth was devastating for the villagers as well as for ecologists. The culprit was identified as the pesticide used to treat the American Bollworm.

According to scientist Ajay Tripathi, who has been actively working with the Kheti Virasat Mission, season after season, spraying the same cocktail of pesticides on cotton had resulted in the poisoning  of the water table. The government is still reluctant to acknowledge the truth.

There have been as many as 20 deaths in one village. Young men, who should have been helping their fathers to retire, are being carried on the Cancer Train to the Acharya Tulsi Cancer Research Institute by their parents.

 

2009

Cancer Express

Cancer Express