Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said on Thursday that her government is inquiring into how a radioactive material reached a scrap dealer from Delhi University. The origin of the radioactive Cobalt-60 found in west Delhi's Mayapuri, which led to the death of one person, was traced to Delhi University's Chemistry Department where it was lying unused since the last 25 years.
"Yes I know (about the origin of Cobalt-60). We are inquiring into it," Dikshit told PTI. However, she did not elaborate how the government was planning to get the details about the incident. The police had said there was "negligence" on part of Delhi University in disposing of radioactive material in an auction without following proper procedure.
"Negligence was there. Radioactive material should be disposed of in controlled condition. Strict guidelines havebeen formulated by Atomic Energy Regulatory Board. It appears DU has not followed it," a senior police official said. Rajender, 35, a worker at a shop in Mayapuri scrap market, had died due to multiple organ failure on Monday at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences after being exposed to radiation.
The government had announced a compensation of Rs two lakh to the next of kin of the deceased. It is also in the process of procuring equipment to detect radioactive material. Attending a function to create awareness about environmental pollution among children, she said government policies alone cannot make Delhi a pollution-free city. "For that each one of us should contribute like water preservation through rainwater harvesting, minimum use of electricity and abstain from using plastic," she said.
She exhorted children to be part of the initiatives by doing their bit. "Around 3000 eco-classes are being held in public schools to create awareness about environment conservation among students," Dikshit added.