Clean water by December, Commisioner promises

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

September 24, 2008
*Press Statement*
Organizations of survivors of the 1984 Union Carbide disaster in Bhopal were assured today that all the 14 communities affected by ground water contamination will receive supply of water from Kolar reservoir by December 2008. The six organizations participating in the meeting of the Coordination Committee on Bhopal chaired by the Secretary, Ministry of Chemicals and Petrochemicals were also assured that the Indian Council of Medical Research will resume medical research on consequences of exposure to toxic gases and contaminated ground water including effects on future generations of exposed persons. It was also decided that three sub-committees focusing on health care, economic and social rehabilitation and supply of safe water and environmental remediation will be formed with active participation of survivors’ organizations. The sub committees will monitor the progress of work in their respective areas and provide feedback to the 980 Crores Action Plan for rehabilitation of the Bhopal survivors prepared by the state government.
The Coordination Committee on Bhopal (CCB) was set up under directions of the Prime Minister in response to the 2006 Bhopal to Delhi Padyatra by Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh, Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha and Bhopal Group for Information & Action. The CCB has had three meetings so far without significant impact on the apathetic stance of the state government towards the problems faced by half a million survivors of the disaster. Following the recent five month long agitation by the three organizations in New Delhi and in view of the lack of effectiveness of the CCB the Prime Minister issued directions in June this year that the Committee will be chaired by a secretary of the government of India.
The Commissioner, Bhopal Municipal Corporation informed survivors’ organizations that 5.5 kilometres of pipeline out of a total 15 kilometres has been laid for bringing water from Kolar reservoir to the communities adjacent to the abandoned Union Carbide factory. According to the Commissioner, all 14 communities will be supplied with water from Kolar by December 2008 using the old network of pipelines and the entire network will be replaced by March 2009. The subcommittee on water supply and environmental remediation will be deciding on the areas that will be included for supply of water on a priority basis once water supply in the 14 communities was ensured.
The Director General of ICMR assured the survivors organizations that his organizations will carry out a health survey among 50, 000 exposed persons, study complications in lung problems, incidence of cancers, genetic impact and health problems of the communities affected by ground water contamination. He also assured that the unpublished toxicology research data of ICMR will soon be published. The subcommittee on health care will pay special attention to the computerization of hospitals meant for survivors and facilities such as that of kidney transplants that are not currently available. The CCB reached a consensus that residents of severely affected communities should receive priority in medical, economic and social rehabilitation.
Rashida Bi, Champa Devi Shukla, Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmachari Sangh, 9993117365
Syed M Irfan, Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha,
9329026319

Satinath Sarangi, Rachna Dhingra, Bhopal Group for Information and Action, 9826167369

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