Indian politicians’ shameful treatment of survivors reaches new depths

INDIA’S POLITICIANS MOVE TO DENY BHOPAL SURVIVORS MEDICAL CARE

The following press statement was issued today by Bhopal survivors’ organisations and their supporters.

Bhopal, February 12, 2005

Over two hundred survivors of the December ’84 Union Carbide gas disaster today held a demonstration at the office of the Chief Medical Officer [Gas Relief] at 11.30 AM. Led by four organizations active on the long pending issues of the disaster, the demonstrators opposed the proposed handing over of the Gas Relief hospitals to the State Health department.

Reasons for opposing the transfer of Gas Relief hospitals to the Department of Health

· Survivors have been impoverished as a result of loss of work capacity and they will not be able to pay for registration, examinations and medicines, as they will be required to do following the implementation of this decision. Thousands of survivors will be denied medical care as a result of this decision.

· Keeping in view the special needs for medical care and research of the survivors, the Supreme Court set up special Monitoring and Advisory Committees last year. This decision of the State government will take away any possibility of special medical attention towards the health problems of survivors and their children.

· The government’s research agency Indian Council of Medical Research and several independent specialists have stressed the need for long term medical care, research and health monitoring of the survivors and their children. While survivors and their children need the work of medical rehabilitation to continue for the next 50 years, this decision will bury the continuing medical issues of the disaster.

· While the burning issue of free medical care of the people exposed to ground water contamination is still under consideration by the Supreme Court, the decision to transfer the Gas Relief hospitals to the Health department will end possibilities for free medical care of about 20, 000 people affected by poisoned ground water.

Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh
Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha
Bhopal Group for Information and Action
Bhopal ki Aawaaz

Contacts:

Rashida Bi, Champa Devi Shukla
Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmachari Sangh Tel 9303132959
Syed M Irfan,
Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha 9329026319
Shahid Noor
Bhopal ki Aawaaz
9303122784
Satinath Sarangi, Rachna Dhingra,
Bhopal Group for Information and Action

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