“Closer to reality: Reporting on Bhopal 20 years after the Bhopal Gas tragedy”: a new report from We For Bhopal

We for Bhopal is a student group based in Delhi University dedicated to the task of spreading awareness about the Bhopal Gas Tragedy and related issues of environmental degradation and corporate crime.
On 2-3rd December 2005, Bhopal celebrated the 20th anniversary of what has been described as the world’s worst industrial disaster.
Of the 5 lakh (half a million) population, living in the vicinity of Union Carbide India Limited (now taken over by Dow Chemicals), many continue to suffer the after effects of the 40 tonnes of MIC that leaked from inside the premises of the factory, killing 20, 000 and causing grievous to moderate to mild injuries to the rest. Given the on-going nature of the tragedy there is an urgent need to apprise people of the various aspects of the event.
We for Bhopal has come out with a report titled “Closer to reality: Reporting on Bhopal 20 years after the Bhopal Gas tragedy”. The 77-page report is the outcome of what the group describes as a “project for gathering evidences”. 14 student members of the team with 2 coordinators visited Bhopal on 3-7th October 2004.
As part of their project they visited the gas-affected bastis, hospitals, the factory site; met survivors, doctors, bureaucrats, leaders of the survivor groups and talked to the man on the street in New Bhopal.
The report is entirely the students’ attempt to analyse what they saw, and offer ways and means to deal with the problems. What makes Closer to Reality unique is that it is the first report of its kind, written, produced and presented entirely by students offering a youth perspective, and addressing itself to their own peer group. The report is futuristic in nature and offers solutions for the problems.
4 members of the team carried a handy cam with which they took video clippings that was then shaped into a 24 minutes film titled “Closer to reality”. Once again the film is the work of amateurs, but has the passion, brilliance and conviction of the young, who look at the world with fresh but critical eyes. The film reaches out to youth with the important message that “many more Bhopals” are waiting to happen, unless and until we do our bit to prevent them.
We for Bhopal intends to use the report and film to reach out to the student body both in schools and colleges. We are going to have a major screening in Delhi University towards the third week of October 2005. Once we officially launch the report and film in September (plans are underway) both will be available for distribution and sale.
We will also take the report and film to bureaucrats and concerned officials in different organisations that are in charge of doing relief and rehabilitation for Bhopal.
This project was largely in response advice given by the President of India to student representatives of the group, when we went to meet him on 25th March 2004. He asked us to go to Bhopal, see reality for ourselves and come back and tell him what we saw. “Closer to Reality” is our answer to the President, and we intend to take it to him and to other key political leaders.
We invite schools, colleges, universities across India and the rest of the world to place bulk orders for the book for their libraries, societies and for screening at seminars and workshops. We ask NGOs, organisations and groups who work in related fields to come forward and buy copies of the report and film. As a youth enterprise we have worked on a tight budget, and our only means of recovery of cost is through sales. All the money will be poured back into our funds so that we can carry out further projects.
We would be happy to participate in any event that you can help organize to promote the cause of Bhopal, and hope that the report and film will help to further intensify the issues involved. We would encourage all of you to read the report, see the film and spread the word.
The report is priced at Rs 100 for institutions and Rs 50 for students. The CD of the film is priced at Rs 150 for institutions and Rs 50 for students. For both report and CD the discounted price is Rs 200 for institutions and Rs 75 for students.
The price of report and film for selling abroad is US$ 10 each for students and US$ 25 for film and US$ 20 for report for institutions. You can place orders at the address given below. Copies will soon be available at other outlets that will be announced at the time of the launch.
Dr Suroopa Mukherjee
We for Bhopal
P- 62, Sector XI
NOIDA 201 301
Uttar Pradesh
Tel: 9818029882
95120 5335794
Email: suroopa.mukherjee@touchtelindia.net

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