Bhopal survivors have positive meeting with Minister for Chemicals Ram Vilas Paswan: gain support for all six demands, but dharna continues pending meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh

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Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmachari Sangh
Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha
Bhopal Group for Information and Action
Bhopal ki Aawaaz

PRESS STATEMENT – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 30, 2006
Six representatives of victims of Union Carbide from Bhopal including three who had walked from Bhopal to New Delhi, yesterday met with the Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers, Mr Ram Vilas Paswan on their six demands. In the meeting the minister expressed his agreement with all six demands and assured the delegation that his ministry will take positive action on the issues that fall within its jurisdiction.
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Mr Ram Vilas Paswan, Minister for Chemicals
On issues such as setting up of National Commission on Bhopal and a Special Prosecution Cell for speedy prosecution of the accused in the criminal case on the disaster, the minister has promised to send positive recommendation to the Prime Minister’s office. The secretary of Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers has promised to visit Bhopal in the third week of April to discuss the status of supply of Kolar water in the contamination affected communities, and participation of survivors in the building of the memorial to the disaster.
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Minister Paswan with the Bhopali delegation
The delegation composed of leaders of the four organizations: Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmachari Sangh, Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha, Bhopal Group for Information and Action, Bhopal ki Aawaaz also met with Cabinet Minister, Mr. Oscar Fernandes. Mr. Fernandes promised the delegation his support in felicitating a meeting with the Prime Minister at an early date.
Meanwhile the people affected by gas disaster and those poisioned by ground water contamination due to hazardous waste from the Union Carbide factory have started their indefinite dharna at Jantar Mantar in Delhi. The dharna will continue until the Prime Minister meets with Bhopal survivors. In the absence of a positive response from the Government, 12 survivors and their supporters have decided to go on an indefinite hunger strike.
In a significant development, 20 members of the US Congress, led by Congressman Frank Pallone, have written to the Prime Minister urging him to address the Bhopalis’ demands and take action against the errant US multinational. “The conduct of American corporations outside the US is a long-standing concern of ours, especially with regard to environmental protection standards… It is outrageous that the CEOs of Union Carbide and its successor, Dow Chemical, have yet to be brought to justice… It is disappointing that the Indian Government has been reticent to pursue Union Carbide and Dow Chemical for their civil and criminal liabilities in the country,” the letter states.
READ THE LETTER FROM CONGRESSMAN PALLONE AND COLLEAGUES
Survivors demands relate to provision of clean water, environmental remediation at the polluters’ cost, setting up of a national commission to provide medical and economic rehabilitation, stopping Union Carbide and Dow Chemical’s businesses in India until justice is done, and memorialising the disaster by including the Bhopal story in educational curricula and by building a memorial in Bhopal after considering the sensitivities and ideas of survivors.
Champa Devi Shukla
Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmachari Sangh
+91 93031 32959
Syed M Irfan,
Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha
+91 93290 26319
Shahid Noor
Bhopal ki Aawaaz
+91 98261 82226
Satinath Sarangi, Rachna Dhingra,
Bhopal Group for Information and Action
+91 98261 67369
Contact :
House No. 12, Gali No. 2, Near Naseer Masjid, Bag Umrao Dulha, Bhopal 462 010
For latest information on the Dilli Padyatra please visit www.bhopal.net/march/

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