Cornered gas minister promises news on clean water

Two hundred contamination-affected people from 12 communities today converged upon the residence of Babulal Gaur, the Bhopal official presently carrying the Orwellian title ‘Minister of Gas Relief and Rehabilitation’. During their day long, uninvited visit, Mr Gaur was persuaded to promise news on the installation of piped water – at long last – to communities where drinking, cooking and washing with Carbide’s poisons is a merciless fact of daily life. The Minister’s beneficence was secured just a few days after a meeting with representatives of the same communities that didn’t take place chez Gaur brought no such promises. Mr Gaur has until April 7 to come up with a concrete plan for the installation of the water pipes.

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Two protestors today… toxins in local tubewells are known to cause chromosomal damage and impair foetal development

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Contamination affected people in determined mood at the minister’s home today…

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

March 31, 2004
Press Statement

The Minister of Bhopal Gas Tragedy Relief and Rehabilitation, Mr. Babulal Gaur today promised a delegation of representatives from communities affected by water contamination that he will respond to the demands for piped water supply within a week. The Minister stated that by April 7 he will be able to say how much time it would take for the residents of these communities to get piped water. He also promised that till the time that piped water was made available, his department would ensure that water tankers in sufficient numbers are sent to these communities. He agreed with the delegation that supply through tankers could not be a permanent solution to the problem of poisoning though ground water consumption.

The delegation led by Mrs Rashida Bee and Champs Devi Shukla of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh expressed satisfaction with the outcome of the meeting. Earlier 200 women and children from Atal Ayub Nagar, Annu Nagar, New Arif Nagar, Blue Moon Colony, Nawab Colony, Shri Ram Colony, Sunder Nagar, Prem Nagar, Shiv Nagar, Garib Nagar, Timber Market and Chandwadi demonstrated before the Minister’s residence till evening. The protestors resolved to intensify their campaign after April 7 in case their demands were not satisfactorily met.

Mrs. Rashida Bi, Champa Devi Shukla
Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmachari Sangh

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

Contact :
1. House No. 12, Gali No. 2, Near Naseer Masjid, Bag Umrao Dulha, Bhopal Tel: 3132298
2. B-2 / 302, Sheetal Nagar, Berasia Road, Bhopal Tel : 9826167369

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Krishan, a seven year old living in the severely affected community of Atul Ayub Nagar

DAINIK BHASKAR, BHOPAL MARCH 29, 2004

Water is causing misery in the communities
Several tests done, clean water yet to come

Bhopal March 28

The face of 13 year old Zarina is twisted. She can not speak properly and does not pay attention to studies. Her father Zameel Miyan is worried about her future. Almost similar is the condition of Rashid. His legs and arms are also twisted, as is his face. His father Abdul Washid can not take him to a doctor.

This is not just the plight of these two children, this is the story of the 20,000 people living in twelve communities next to the Union Carbide factory. The communities are Atal-Ayub Nagar, Annu Nagar, New Arif Nagar, Nawab Colony, Shri Ram Colony, Shiv Nagar, Prem Nagar, Sunder Nagar, Garib Nagar, Chandwadi, Timber Market and Blue Moon Colony. The plight of the people is due to drinking contaminated water.

The children, women and men in these communities suffer from different diseases. Main problems are abdominal pain, cancers, skin disorders and diseases of kidney and liver. 9 reports have been published on the quality of water next to the Union Carbide factory. One of these reports is by the state government yet the people in these communities can not get clean drinking water.

The gases that leaked from Union Carbide factory went under the soil and these have dissolved in the ground water and are causing misery. The residents in these communities demand that the state government must supply them with water from the Kolar dam. Atal-Ayub Nagar has four hand pumps in a population of four thousand, two hand pumps are not working. In different communities only a few hand pumps are in working order. 10 years old Sandeep from Prem Nagar Colony appears to be only six years old. His father Vijayram says that the growth of children is retarded because of drinking local water. Similar is the condition of Arjun Vasudev’s son Bunty.

Rashida Bee President of Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh and coordinator of Bhopal Group for Information and Action Satinath Sarangi drew the attention of the journalists to these problems. They said that the local residents had met with the minister for Bhopal Gas Relief Babulal Gaur and he had instructed officials to carry out an inspection. Rashida Bee and Mr. Sarangi alleged that the officials did not visit the affected communities and went off saying there was no problem. They said that both Arif Aqueel and Babulal Gaur were elected as representatives to the state assembly from this area and both went on to become Ministers of Gas Relief and yet people’s problems have not been solved.

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Women’s problems

Bhopal 28 March : Women residing in Blue Moon Colony are suffering from problems of menstruation. 34 years old Shabana has been living here for last ten years and she has not had menstruation for last 8 years. Her youngest daughter Heena is eight years old. She said that before coming to this community her menstruation was okay. 40 year old Shaqeela has 2 to 3 periods in a month. 33 years old Shahajahan stopped menstruating when she was 20.

In this community many young women who are 22-25 years old have not started menstruating yet. Kamar Sultan of Blue Moon Colony has got cancer from drinking contaminated water. She has been undergoing treatment for last five years. The plight of Fazilat and Munni Bee from Atal-Ayub Nagar are similar. She needs two thousand rupees for her treatment every month and she has a hard time arranging for this money. Her doctors have told her to avoid drinking contaminated water. It is a matter of regret that Bhopal Memorial Hospital does not have a gynaecology wing.
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