Bhopal gas disaster survivors bitter about ‘Black Day’

IANS, November 27, 2007
Bhopal — Survivors of the Bhopal gas tragedy have decided to observe the 23rd anniversary of the disaster as ‘Black Day’.
Leaders of the three organisations — Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmachari Sangh (BGPMSKS), Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha (BGPMPSM) and Bhopal Group for Information and Action (BGIA) – told a press conference Tuesday that they have lost all hopes with the state government.
They said they will repeat the march to Delhi to pressurize the central government to set up a national commission for long-term relief and rehabilitation of the survivors and make Dow Chemicals accept its liabilities in Bhopal.
‘As many as 55 survivors and their supporters walked to New Delhi in February 2006 and met the prime minister after a weeklong hunger strike. At that time, the prime minister promised to act promptly on providing clean water, health care, employment, social support and also to set up a coordination committee to oversee the implementation of these assurances’, one of the survivors recalled.
‘However, the state government has failed to implement any of the recommendations of the committee even as the centre too has shown no keenness to keep their word,’ said Rachna Dhingra of BGIA.
‘Rather, documents obtained from the Prime Minister’s Office reveal that the prime minister is actively pushing a proposal to grant Dow Chemical immunity so that Dow and Union Carbide can invest freely in India’, she added.
The state and central governments, in their enthusiasm to help Dow, will cause another Bhopal disaster through the unsafe handling of Carbide’s toxic wastes, said Satinath Sarangi, another activist working for gas victims.
‘The state and central government’s plans to help Dow Chemical on the issue of disposal of chemical wastes has already run into trouble after the Gujarat government withdrew its permission to burn the wastes in Ankleshwar’, he claimed.

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