Demand to set up National Commission for Bhopal gas victims

Sahara Samey, 03 December 2007
Bhopal, Dec 3: With victims of the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy still lacking adequate treatment and rehabilitation facilities, activists working for their cause have sought setting up of a National Commission to cater to their medical needs for the next 30 years.
“They need specialised health care at least for the next 30 years. Setting up of a national commission focusing on long-term rehabilitation of the survivors and their next generation is a must,” said Mohd Ali Qaiser, a physician at Sambhavana Trust Clinic who is treating the gas victims.
The Methyl Iso Cynate (MIC) that leaked from the Union Carbide factory on the intervening night of December 2-3, 1984, had affected those exposed to the gas and also their children, he said, quoting an internationally-published research by the clinic.
Claiming to have evolved treatment protocols for gas victims integrating allopathy, ayurveda, panchakarma and yoga, the doctor said “our results show that it is possible to provide safe inexpensive and effective health care through holistic approach.
The National Commission should be formed through participation of government and non-government organisations, with a thirty-year action plan. It should ensure the line of treatment, availability of drugs, conduct medical research and become a forum for redressal of complaints, he said.
On the other hand, a condolence meet was today organised by the state government to commemorate the 23rd anniversary of Bhopal gas tragedy and special prayers held here to pay homage to over 15,000 people who lost life in the worst industrial disaster to hit the country.
The survivors of the tragedy in large numbers marched from various parts of the city to the abandoned Union Carbide factory and burnt effigies of the company.
They were joined by residents living in colonies near the factory who faced health hazards due to contamination of ground water by toxic chemicals stored in the deserted pesticide manufacturing unit.
The protesters charged the State and Central governments of collusion with Union Carbide and its current owner Dow Chemicals Company, USA, and demanded that the company should clean up the factory and pay compensation to the affected persons.
A prayer meet was organised in the factory premises this afternoon where several dignitaries including Arch Bishop Leo Cornelio paid homage to the victims.
A condolence meet was also organised by the government, wherein, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said that steps should be taken to prevent such tragedies again.
“Development is necessary but not at the cost of people,” he said adding the state government has endeavoured to ensure proper medical rehabilitation of survivors and their kins.
The victims last night took out a torch rally and screened a documentary film based on the disaster in the factory premises.

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