The Hindu, April 30, 2008
Children of gas-hit parents continue to suffer from disorders
NEW DELHI: Parents of children from Bhopal with serious birth defects presented what they claimed to be evidence of the Government’s criminal negligence towards the next generation of Union Carbide victims at a press conference here on Tuesday.
Present at the press conference were also parents who were exposed to methyl isocyanate and other toxic gases during the 1984 gas leak disaster and those who continue to be exposed to toxic chemicals and heavy metals like mercury in their drinking water from the community hand-pumps.
“The Central Government is fully aware that the children of gas-affected parents suffer from congenital physical and mental growth disorders. For its part, the State Government provided official assistance for heart surgery and congenital brain anomalies to merely 27 children under a programme called Special Assistance to At Risk Children. However, that was terminated in 1997 citing financial constraints,” complained a parent.
The parents of children born with brain damage, mental retardation and cleft lip and palette said the Government continues to disregard a Supreme Court order of 1991 that directed medical insurance for at least one lakh children born to gas-exposed parents.
Among other things, the parents are demanding from the Government special medical assistance, community-based rehabilitation centres and monetary help besides research and monitoring programmes aimed at assessing the magnitude of the problem and early detection of such defects.
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