Around 9.30pm every day, A passenger train leaves from Bhatinda in Punjab to Bikkaner in Rajasthan. The actual name given by Indian railways to this train is Local passenger no: 339. But this catchy name is more suitable and relevant and the obvious credits go to the locals. This name creates the urge to explore more when someone hears this name for the first time.
Basically, this cancer train connects Patiala in Punjab with Bikaner in Rajasthan. This train usually loaded with cancer patients. An estimate says that there are 90cancer patient in every 100000 of Punjab’s Population. This ratio is quite higher the national average of 80. This ratio speaks about the severity of cancer prevalence in Punjab. This severity is rooted from farming style followed in Punjab.
Heavy use of pesticides and Insecticides is the leading reason behind this exceptional severity in Punjab. Within Punjab, Cancer death is extremely high on the Malwa belt, which is known for cotton cultivation. This Malwa region accounts for more than 75% of pesticide consumption in Punjab. This high occurrence of cancer ensures the good number of passengers in cancer train.
All these passengers of cancer train are destined to reach a government run hospital in Bikaner, where the cost of treatment is affordable for this mass cancer affected community. This mournful journey starts with hope in heart and prayers in the lips. All this brave hearted people hope for a return to normalcy in their lives some days in the future.