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NGOs to protest against betrayal of Bhopal Gas Tragedy survivors

Tuesday, June 22, 2010 09:07:13 PM, Pervez Bari,

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Bhopal: Five Bhopal-based NGOs fighting the cause of the survivors of Bhopal Gas Tragedy, the world’s worst industrial disaster, piqued at the recommendations of Group of Ministers, (GoM), on Bhopal are organizing a joint rally in New Delhi on June 24 to condemn the betrayal of the Bhopal victims once again by the Government of India.

The rally is being held from Mandi House to Jantar Mantar in New Delhi at 11 am. It is being jointly organized by the Children Against Dow Carbide; Bhopal Gas Peedit Nirashrit Pension Bhogi Sangarsh Morcha; Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Udyog Sanghatan; Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangarsh Morcha; Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmachari Sangh; Bhopal Gas Peedit Sangarsh Sahyog Samiti and Bhopal Group for Information and Action.

These NGOs have appealed the people to join the rally in large numbers for Justice in Bhopal and don't let the Government betray Bhopal once again.

It may be mentioned here that though the official copy of the report of the Group of Ministers on Bhopal has not been released to the media. But the media has been selectively and confusingly reported on certain parts of the recommendations reportedly given to them by inside sources. These reports make it seem as if:

a) The GoM is recommending enhanced compensation for Bhopal victims to the tune of Rs. 15000 millions (324.500 millions USD); b) The GoM is recommending that the Centre will pay for clean-up and recover the money from Dow Chemical; c) The GoM will recommend the Government to address the issue of liability by pursuing Anderson and d) The GoM will recommend that Rs. 7200 millions (155.760 million USD) be handed over to the State Government to take care of rehabilitation.

It may be pointed out that a senior bureaucrat who was present at the GoM meeting revealed some startling details:
a) Only 41,000 people, out of 5,72,000 people exposed and injured by the gas leak will receive any compensation. 5,31,000 people, who received paltry sums of Rs. 25,000 from the earlier settlement for life-long ill-health, will receive nothing.

b) The GoM has reportedly committed Rs. 3000 millions (65.0689 million USD). This is wholly inadequate for cleanup of more than 10,000 tons of toxic wastes, a contaminated groundwater aquifer. Also, no provision has been made for the medical care and compensation of the 25,000 or more people who have been forced to consume this poisonous groundwater and have developed serious and lifelong illnesses as a result. As for recovery of money from Dow, the Government has indicated it will merely await a verdict from the Court and will do nothing to actively pursue Dow Chemical.

c) While much noise is made about extraditing Anderson, not a word has been mentioned about enforcing the appearance of the other foreign accused -- i.e. Union Carbide Corporation USA, and Union Carbide Eastern Hong Kong.

d) The Rs. 7200 millions (155.760 million USD) given to the State Government will suffer the same fate as the Rs. 5300 millions (114.955 million USD)already spent by the MP Government for rehabilitation of Bhopal victims. Till date, not one person has been gainfully employed as a result of MP Government's economic rehabilitation schemes. Victims are paying through their nose for medical treatment at private clinics because of the horrendous state of the hospitals set up using a big chunk of the Rs. 530 millions (114.955 million USD).


A Supreme Court Monitoring Committee that looked into medical rehabilitation has severely criticized the medical infrastructure and said that the need of the hour is more doctors, better administration and better quality medicines. Instead of investing in these, the Government of Madhya Pradesh has submitted a proposal in which a bulk of the funds will be used for construction of new wings. Several million of rupees will be used to purchase fictitious equipments like "automatic micro-organism [sic] detection instruments" and non-equipment items such as "identification & sensitivity of micro organism [sic]".




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