Bhopal gas tragedy survivors threaten stir to press demands

Staff Reporter, The Hindu, March 2, 2007
The survivors have been demanding clean drinking water, medicare
# Madhya Pradesh “obstructing” rehabilitation of survivors
# “Supreme Court orders ignored”

NEW DELHI: Representatives of the Bhopal gas tragedy survivors have threatened to go on an indefinite hunger strike in Bhopal from March 5 if their long-pending demands are not immediately met.
The demands include clean drinking water, adequate medical care and social rehabilitation.
Addressing a press conference here on Thursday, Union Carbide gas disaster survivor and winner of Goldman Environmental Prize, Rashida Bee, charged the Madhya Pradesh Government with obstructing medical care and rehabilitation of the survivors.
“We have been sitting on dharna for the past many days in the Capital, but we are yet to get any assurance from Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister about the welfare of those affected. The State Government is ignoring the Supreme Court orders regarding supply of safe water to the people living in the contaminated areas and has not implemented any of the recommendations of the Monitoring Committee set up by the Supreme Court for supervising the Government health care system. We are now forced to go on an indefinite hunger strike,” said Ms. Rashida Bee.
The victims are demanding proper health care, economic rehabilitation, social support, protection from Union Carbide’s poisons and a responsive administration.
“We are demanding that the most basic means of survival be provided to those affected.”
Apart from the multinational corporation Union Carbide and its new dispensation Dow Chemical, the Central and State Governments are responsible for the fallouts of the disaster that struck 22 years ago, said Satinath Sarangi of the Bhopal Group for Information and Action.
The Madhya Pradesh Government had spent close to Rs. 500 crore in the name of relief and rehabilitation, but survivors still did not have proper medical care or adequate rehabilitation, he said.

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