Bhopal hunger strikers end their fast as the State government agrees to implement key demands to improve life for the survivors of the Union Carbide gas leak and ongoing water poisoning

Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmachari Sangh
Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha
Bhopal Group for Information and Action
Bhopal Ki Aawaaz
March 19, 2007
PRESS STATEMENT, FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
After fourteen days of fasting to press their demands for water, medical care and rehabilitation for the people poisoned by Union Carbide in Bhopal, six of the “Right to Live” campaigners today broke their indefinite fast. The decision to end the fast and the 27 day long dharna was taken after the state government accepted key demands of the four organisations of survivors of the December 1984 Union Carbide disaster in Bhopal. The fasters accepted glasses of juice from the District Collector, Mr S K Mishra who was authorised by the Chief Minister to negotiate with the representatives of the four organisations. On behalf of the state government the Collector handed over a written response to each of the demands raised by the four organizations.
As per the agreement reached with the state government, immediate steps will be taken to fill vacant posts in the hospitals meant for gas affected people and to improve quality of medicines and facilities for investigations there. Doctors and specialists at the gas relief hospitals will now be contracted for five years in place of the current practice of contracting for two years. The government has also agreed to vacate the 152 work sheds in the Special Industrial Area within three months to establish employment generating industries within a year. Additionally, the state government will help survivors form Self Help Groups that will carry out production activities and survivors will be given priority in granting loans and subsidies through existing self employment schemes.
The state government has also agreed to provide all information on the soil and ground water contamination in and around the Union Carbide factory and to build a wall around the factory to protect children and cattle from the hazardous materials therein. For provision of safe water in the communities in the vicinity of the abandoned factory, 50 additional tanks will be provided within a month’s time.
The demands of the campaigners regarding setting up of an office of the Coordination Committee on Bhopal and formation of sub-groups on medical care, economic, social and environmental rehabilitation with participation of survivors’ organisations have also been accepted by the state government. On behalf of the state government the Collector has taken the responsibility to set up meetings of the representatives of the four organisations with concerned officials and to organise a follow up meeting after one month to take stock of progress made with regard to the different issues.
The Bhopal organisations say public actions have been planned in India and abroad for April and May in the event that the State Government fails to honour its commitments.
Hundreds of survivors of the disaster and residents of communities next to the abandoned Union Carbide factory affected by ground water contamination, danced to the beat of drums over the victory of their long struggle. They rejoiced at the fact that some of the issues of relief and rehabilitation that should have been resolved at least 20 years back have now been taken up by the state government. The survivors requested their supporters in Washington, DC to break their 3-day old fast in solidarity with the Bhopalis in front of the Indian embassy. Supporters from India, US and other countries have sent more than 2000 faxes to the Chief Minister, and made more than 500 phone calls to senior bureaucrats and ministers in the Madhya Pradesh Government.
The four organisations thanked their local, national and international supporters for contributing to this hard earned victory. They also thanked the District Collector and advocate Satish Tewari who mediated on behalf of the organisations for their hard work and patience in resolving many of the long pending issues of the survivors of the world’s worst industrial disaster.
Rashida Bi, Champa Devi Shukla
Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmachari Sangh
94256 88215
Syed M Irfan,
Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha
93290 26319
Shahid Noor
Bhopal ki Aawaaz
98261 82226
Satinath Sarangi, Rachna Dhingra
Bhopal Group for Information and Action
98261 67369
Contact : House No. 60, Near Cold Storage, Union Carbide Road, Chhola, Bhopal
Please visit www.bhopal.net for more information on the campaign for justice in Bhopal

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