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Govt of India follows Union Carbide’s suggestions instead of ICMR findings in giving compensation

Press Statement                                                                        23-July-2011

At a press conference today five organizations working for the victims of the December ‘84 Union Carbide disaster accused the central and state governments of downplaying the damage caused by the American company in the curative petitions filed in the Supreme Court. The organizations demanded that in place of Rs 3,000-6,000 crores the government should ask Union Carbide and its current owner Dow Chemical to pay over Rs 37,000 crores for deaths and personal injuries. The organizations stated that they will start agitations in support of this demand from July 25.

The organizations said that the injury categories assigned to the victims were unscientific and without basis and demanded that the government seek at least Rs 6 lakhs as compensation per victim from Union Carbide.

Satinath Sarangi of Bhopal Group for Information and Action said that recently their organizations have obtained TOP SECRET DOCUMENTS that show that Union Carbide was proposing a settlement within three months of the disaster. He said that because of its collusion with the American company, the Indian government introduced injury categories and later paid the minimum amount of Rs 25,000 as compensation to 94% of the victims with lifelong injuries by arbitrarily assigning them temporary injury category. Satinath said that Union Carbide had proposed payment of Rs 1 lakh for each death and six years later this is the amount that the government actually paid the Bhopal victims.

Balkrishna Namdeo of Bhopal Gas Peedit Nirashrit Pension Bhogi Sangharsh Morcha said that on the basis of the figures published by the government’s apex medical research organization, Indian Council of Medical Research, at least 20,0000 people have died till 2009. He said that ICMR’s research shows that between 1984 and 1989 there were 3500 spontaneous abortions as a result of gas exposure and these need to be included in counting disaster related loss of life. Namdeo said that in the curative petition filed in the Supreme Court, the government has gone against the findings of its own research agency and presented a ridiculously low figure of 5295 deaths as a consequence of the disaster. See attached Tables on Compensation and Categories.

Rashida Bee of Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh who is involved with rehabilitation of children of gas affected parents with congenital malformations, said that in the curative petition the government has not asked for any compensation for damages caused to the next generation of victims. She said that studies published in international scientific journals such as the Journal of American Medical Association and the American Journal of Industrial Medicine show that the poisons of Union Carbide have affected the next generation too. Rashida Bee pointed out that in October 1991 the Supreme Court had directed the Indian government to provide medical insurance coverage to the next generation of victims but this order remains to be implemented.

The organizations stated that the basis of the curative petitions filed by the central and state governments is that the figures of death and injury presented in 1989 were not correct. However these figures have not been corrected in the current curative petition so that the Supreme Court cannot provide justice to the Bhopal victims even if it wants to. The organization said that for the last one year they have been writing to the Prime Minister and Group of Ministers on Bhopal on the specific issue of deaths and health damage caused by Union Carbide in Bhopal but they have not received any response so far.

Rashida Bi,
Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh

Nawab Khan
Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha

Balkrishna Namdeo,
Bhopal Gas Peedit Nirashrit Pension Bhogi Sangharsh Morcha

Satinath Sarangi, Rachna Dhingra,
Bhopal Group for Information and Action

Safreen Khan
Children Against Dow Carbide

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Letter to DAE from Bhopal Survivor Groups

To,

Shri A.P. Joshi

Chairman: Empowered Committee on BMHRC

Additional Secretary

Department of Atomic Energy

Government of India

Anushakti Bhawan, CSM Marg, Mumbai

Fax: 022-22844628

 

18-February-2011

 

Sub: Case for effective administration of Bhopal Memorial Hospital Research Centre by the Department of Atomic Energy and rejection of proposal by the MP Government regarding setting up of an Autonomous Society for administration of BMHRC.

 

Dear Sir,

 

On behalf of five survivors’ organizations working for the medical care and rehabilitation of the survivors of the Bhopal disaster, we wish to present the following grounds for taking over the BMHRC, as directed by the Supreme Court of India on 19th July 2010.

 

  1. Madhya Pradesh government is not a competent agency for provision of health care to gas victims and has demonstrated its inability to improve its effectiveness.

 

Concerned by the poor quality of medical care available to gas victims in the hospital run by the Madhya Pradesh government, one of the undersigned organizations filed a Writ Petition in the Supreme Court of India in 1998. In response to this application and the thoroughly unsatisfactory replies of the Madhya Pradesh government, on 17th August 2004, the Supreme Court directed the setting up of the Monitoring Committee for Medical Rehabilitation of Bhopal gas victims. From 2005-2008 this Monitoring Committee, comprised of retired bureaucrats, physicians and others, submitted 6 reports on the basis of 50 surprise visits they made to various hospitals run by the Madhya Pradesh government.

 

These reports highlighted terrible inadequacies in terms of lack of specialists and doctors, absence of treatment protocols, unavailability of quality medicines, inadequacy of patient recording system, unhygienic and insanitary conditions and other lacunae. The Monitoring Committee also presented specific recommendations for improving the administration of health care in these hospitals.

 

A summary of the problems identified by the Monitoring Committee and the specific recommendations submitted to the Supreme Court is appended as Annexure – 1.  On 16 June 2008 the Monitoring Committee wrote in its 7th Report to the Supreme Court “In spite of these reports there has been no appreciable change in the working of these hospitals commensurate with the efforts of the Committee. Hence the members unanimously feel, looking at the realistic situation on the ground, the onerous responsibility entrusted to the Monitoring Committee does not get discharged satisfactorily. Hence it is up to the Hon’ble Supreme Court that they may consider giving this responsibility to such an empowered committee that may ensure the fulfillment of the needs of the gas patients.

 

The Supreme Court has now through its order dated 7 January 2011 directed the Monitoring Committee to present the powers that would need to be vested upon it by the Supreme Court to ensure that their recommendations for the improvement of the health care of the gas victims be actually implemented.

 

The facts and opinions mentioned above that were presented by a Supreme Court appointed committee that includes experienced medical professionals, should be considered a strong indictment of the Madhya Pradesh government for its failure to provide health care to the victims of the world’s worst industrial disaster even after the passage of 26 years.

 

  1. The future plans of Madhya Pradesh government towards medical rehabilitation of gas victims show both incompetence and corruption.

 

Further verifiable evidence of the state government’s corruption and incompetence lie in the current Action Plan being followed by the Madhya Pradesh Government for providing health care and other services to the victims of the Union Carbide gas disaster in Bhopal.

 

The Plans for Medical Rehabilitation, for which Rs. 33.5 Crores has been budgeted, do not address any of the major recommendations made by the Monitoring Committee for Medical Rehabilitation of Bhopal Gas Victims set up by the Supreme Court of India.

95% of the budget for Medical Rehabilitation is for building infrastructure or purchasing equipment. Just purchasing equipment is 79% of the total budget for health care delivery to the gas victims. Further, 70 % of the amount budgeted for purchase of equipment (some such as “Automatic Microorganism Detection Instrument and “Identification and Sensitivity of Microorganisms” indeed being fictitious) is meant to be spent on purchasing equipment for just one hospital.

 

We draw your attention to a detailed critique of the Memorandum on Plan of Action for Relief and Rehabilitation of Bhopal Gas Tragedy Victims submitted by the Department of Bhopal Gas Tragedy Relief & Rehabilitation, Government of Madhya Pradesh [Annexure – 2].

These lacunae in the Action Plan drew strong criticism from the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers (Nodal Ministry on Bhopal), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and Planning Commission.

 

 

 

Below we present extract of comments expressed by these agencies [details of responses are appended as Annexure–3.

 

17th April 2009: Comments of Ministry of Chemicals & Petrochemicals to M.P. Government Medical Rehabilitation

  • The mechanism for monitoring & implementation of action should be mentioned in the Plan of Action.
  • Steps in overcoming under staffing in various gas Relief hospitals and dispensaries need to be overcome.

General Comments

  • After scrutiny of the proposed plan of action we find that there is a diverse nature of different rehabilitation activities & the skills required for implementation may not be adequately available with the Department of Bhopal Gas Tragedy Relief & Rehabilitation, Madhya Pradesh.

 

13th Mar 2009: Comments of Planning Commission & its divisions

  • It is advised that the Empowered Commission for rehabilitation of the victims of Bhopal Gas Leak Disaster be set up at the earliest (as an alternative to the MP Government).

 

  1. The current administration of BMHRC is far from satisfactory and it is possible that the situation will get far worse following greater involvement of the state government agencies.

 

Below we present the main issues concerning the administration of BMHRC that have led to denial of adequate health care and further led to re-victimization of victims.

 

Discrimination against gas victims:

While the BMHRC was set up exclusively for the victims of the Union Carbide disaster as per the October 3, 1991 order of the Supreme Court, gas victims have always faced discrimination in this hospital. Compared to private (paying) patients (including corporations and their employees) gas victims (entitled to free medical care at BMHRC) have far less access to services and facilities such as Consultation from specialists, Investigations, Admissions, Procedures, Surgeries and quality medicine.

  • Private patients do not have to wait to get investigations like TMT, Angiography, Angioplasty, MRI & CT scan whereas the waiting period for these investigations for gas victims are usually several weeks to several months.
  • Data from the Dialysis Unit of BMHRC shows that in 2010, 900 gas victims (who form the majority of the patients) were able to avail facilities for dialysis whereas the number of private patients who received dialysis in the same period was 3000. Several  gas victims suffering from renal failure have died (we have the names of a few of them) because BMHRC would not admit them in the hospital for dialysis as all the beds were occupied by the private patients

 

 

 

 

 

Lack of facilities specific to gas victims:

Consequences of the toxic exposure on women’s health are well documented by ICMR’s research, yet there is no department of gynecology at the BMHRC. There is one gynecologist each at only 2 out of its 8 community units. While the Supreme Court categorically mentioned the likelihood of high morbidity among children born to the gas exposed parents, the BMHRC does not have a department of pediatrics.

 

Converting non gas victims to gas victims:

As the same hospital caters to both non paying gas victims and paying non-gas victims, it has given rise to a fairly organized system of corruption involving officials who routinely assign gas victim’s ID’s to non-gas victims in exchange of payment of several thousand rupees. A recent case of Mr Pawan Sharma has come to light where a private patient was assigned Mr Sharma’s gas victim ID and all Cardiological tests were conducted on the private patient free of cost. The official implicated in this case is Mr. Mazharullah, the Public Relations Officer of BMHRC.

 

No treatment protocols:

Since its inception BMHRC has not developed any standardized treatment protocols specific to health problems associated with toxic exposure. Examination of drug utilization patterns at BMHRC and its community units have indicated usage of needless and potentially harmful drugs.

 

No Benefits of Computerization:

Well over Rs 15 crores have been spent by BMHRC towards computerization of medical data and issuing smart cards to individual gas victims. None of this data contributes to treatment & follow up of victims. Computers are only used for inventory of medicines and for accounting purposes.

 

Charging Gas Victims for Services:

Thousands of gas victims, who are entitled to free medical care, have had to pay thousands of Rupees to obtain CD’s of Cathlab procedure records, X-rays, MRI/CT scan films, reports of other investigations and cardiac ambulance.

 

Consultants Cut on Private Patients:

The Specialist Consultants employed at BMHRC mostly cater to private patients as they make considerable monetary gains through this. The cardiology OPD sees 50%-60% private patients on a regular basis. In 2010 some of these consultants have earned up to Rs 28 lakhs by administering care to private patients at BMHRC

 

Absence of research:

While research into long term consequences of toxic exposure is prominently mentioned in its objectives, the BMHRC has not carried out or published any research since its inception. According to the organization’s website – www.bmhrc.org, BMHRC has only person in the research department who is qualified in bio technology.

 

 

Unethical drug trials:

Recent media reports and information obtained by us through RTI Act show that Senior Consultants of BMHRC including Drs. S K Trivedi, Subodh Varshney, Rajni Chatterjee and others carried out clinical trials of at least 9 drugs on gas victims who came to them for treatment. We are attaching an editorial published in the respected journal Monthly Index of Medical Specialties for your information about these unethical trials. We are also attaching a report published in Live Mint that mentions the death of 10 of the subjects who were part of this trial.

 

We wish we had hard data to back our observations on BMHRC presented above (as suggested by Mr. C B Venkataramana during our meeting with him on February 9, 2010) but please let us assure you that it is not due to lack of trying. On 26 June 2009, one of us filed an application for information under RTI Act with the BMHRC. In our application we had explained that since BMHRC had received the land for the main hospital and the 8 mini units from the State Government it came under the purview of the RTI Act. In July 2009, BMHRC’s PRO responded by denying that BMHRC could come under the purview of the RTI Act. Since then our application is pending before the State Information Commission. We are attaching our applications and BMHRC’s reply as Annexures 4 and 5

 

In conclusion we urge you to undertake a thorough review of the manner in which the M P State Government has administered medical rehabilitation of Bhopal gas victims in the last several years. We are confident that an objective review will lead you to conclude that the medical care of the Bhopal gas victims (and their children) is too important a task to be left to the M P Government.

 

Thanking you.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

 

Safreen KhanChildren Against Dow-Carbide

Mob. +91-9826994797

Balkrishna NamdeoBhopal Gas Peedit Nirashrit Pension Bhogi Sangharsh Morcha

Mob. +91-9826345423

 

Syed M IrfanBhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha

Mob. +91-9329026319

 

Rashida Bee, Champa Devi ShuklaBhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh

Mob. +91-9425688215

 

Rachna Dhingra, Satinath SarangiBhopal Group for Information and Action

Mob. +91-9826167369

justiceinbhopal@yahoo.co.in

 

 

 

 

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Ram Vilas Paswan declares support for Empowered Commission on Bhopal

Bhopal survivors’ organisations today presented the case of Sana, an 8-year old girl from the contaminated water affected Annu Nagar, to Rajya Sabha Member, Mr. Ram Vilas Paswan to highlight how the Group of Ministers’ recommendations last month do not address the unfolding health and economic disasters among victims of Carbide’s toxic legacy in Bhopal. Bhopalis are on the fourth day of their indefinite dharna in Jantar Mantar. Continue reading Ram Vilas Paswan declares support for Empowered Commission on Bhopal

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Medical

A chronicle of the continuing medical catastrophe in Bhopal with supporting medical papers and reports, documents, press cuttings, articles and research studies.
––The immediate effects of gas exposure and Union Carbide’s response.
–– Survivors’ first clinic and sodium thiosulphate scandal.
–– Damaged births in the aftermath of the gas leak.
— Refusal of UCC and later Dow to share medical studies into the effects of MIC poisoning.
–– Assessment of the effects of MIC poisoning.
–– Medical criteria for the disbursement of relief.
–– Government hospitals in Bhopal. Shortcomings and attitude to survivors. Supreme Court Monitoring Committee reports.
–– Foundation of the BMHRC and reports on its performance.
–– ICMR research projects. Cut off after just ten years and latterly resumed after survivors’ protests.
— Studies into the contamination of soil and water by chemicals abandoned at the derelict Union Carbide factory and their effects on the human body.
–– Sambhavna clinic research studies.

Eckerman, Ingrid. “The Bhopal Gas Disaster 1984 – Children’s Acute and Chronic Exposure to Toxic Substances” (PDF). Power point presentation (2010)

Eckerman, Ingrid. “The Bhopal Saga — Causes and Consequences of the World’s Largest Industrial Disaster.” (PDF). Power point presentation in easy English (2008)

Eckerman, Ingrid. “The Bhopal Gas Leak — too late for good epidemiology.” (PDF). Poster presentation (2007)

 

1985
Editorial
New England Medical Journal
Bhopal Technology
Emergency Medicine
Genetics

1986

Journal of Postgraduate Medicine I
Journal of Postgraduate Medicine II
Journal of Postgraduate Medicine III
Journal of Postgraduate Medicine IV
Journal of Postgraduate Medicine V
Journal of Postgraduate Medicine VI
Legal Medicine

1987

Environmental Health Perspectives I
Environmental Health Perspectives II
Environmental Health Perspectives III
Environmental Health Perspectives IV
Environmental Health Perspectives V
Environmental Health Perspectives VI
Environmental Health Perspectives VII
Environmental Health Perspectives VIII
Environmental Health Perspectives IX
Environmental Health Perspectives X
Environmental Health Perspectives XI
Environmental Health Perspectives XII
Environmental Health Perspectives XIII
Environmental Health Perspectives XIV
Environmental Health Perspectives XV
Environmental Health Perspectives XVI
Environmental Health Perspectives XVII
Environmental Health Perspectives XVIII
Environmental Health Perspectives XIX
Environmental Health Perspectives XX
Environmental Health Perspectives XXI
Environmental Health Perspectives XXII
Environmental Health Perspectives XXIII
Environmental Health Perspectives XXIV
Environmental Health Perspectives XXV
Environmental Health Perspectives XXVI
Environmental Health Persepectives Conclusion
1987 – ICMR – 2.pdf
1987 – ICMR – 3.pdf
1987 – ICMR – 4.pdf
1987 – ICMR – 5.pdf
1987 – ICMR – 6.pdf
1987 – ICMR – 7.pdf
1987 – ICMR – 8.pdf
1987 – ICMR – 9.pdf
1987 – ICMR – 10.pdf
1987 – ICMR.pdf
1987 – Opthalmology.pdf
1987 – respiratory french.pdf

1988

1988 – British Journal of Experimental Medicine.pdf
1988 – Indian Journal of Experimental Biology.pdf
1988 – Social Science Medicine Jasanoff.pdf
1988 – Social Science Medicine.pdf

1990

1990 – Environmental Health Perspective.PDF
1990 – Human genetics.pdf
1990 – ICMR.pdf
1990 – Nature.pdf
1990 – Statistical Review of ICMR Study.pdf

1991

1991 – Forensics – Mass Deaths.pdf
1991 – Respiratory CT Scan.pdf

1992

1992 – Internationalizing Bhopal.pdf

1993

1993 – Dhara editorial.pdf
1993 – Lancet b.pdf
1993 – Lancet.pdf

1994

1994 – Medicine, Science, Law.pdf

1995

1995 – Lung.pdf

1996

1996 – Lancet.pdf
1996 – National Medical Journal.pdf
1996 – Respiratory.pdf
1996 – Risk Analysis.pdf

1997

1997 – BMJ Respiratory morbidity – BMJ.pdf
1997 – Chemosphere.pdf
1997 (1977 reprint^) – respiratory.pdf

1998

1998 – Bhopal.pdf

1999

1999 – Cancer Causes Control.pdf

2000

2000 – Lancet.pdf

2001

2001 – Lancet.pdf

2002

2002 – Dhara 2.pdf
2002 – Dhara.pdf
2002 – Lancet B.pdf
2002 – Lancet.pdf

2004

2004 – BMJ.pdf
2004 – Dhara.pdf
2004 – environmental disaster – sriramachari.pdf
2004 – Science.pdf

2005

2005 – Broughton.pdf
2005 – Lancet.pdf
2005 – ONLY PAGES 126-130 mental health report.pdf

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A visit to the Sambhavna Trust Clinic in Bhopal, April 3rd to 7th 2007

BY DOCTOR BISWANATH GOUDA
I never understood it when people used to say that it’s easier to make rational decisions when you are not part of the problem you are trying to understand. Not until April 2004. That summer, after graduating with a Masters in Public Health from Tulane I stumbled upon the AID website and was thus accidentally introduced to AID and its work. Since then I have tried to be an active volunteer given my work and time constraints and supporting the Bhopal campaign has been one of the consistent projects that attracts my attention. To be honest, until 2004 my level of awareness about the Bhopal gas tragedy was very vague. I knew something had happened in the year 1984 while I was in my second/third standard school in Bombay. And I remained as vague for the next 20 years during which I left India and went to study in New Orleans.

Continue reading A visit to the Sambhavna Trust Clinic in Bhopal, April 3rd to 7th 2007

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