Lapierre calls for Empowered Commission on Bhopal tragedy

Bhopal: Internationally acclaimed writer Dominique Lapierre, who co-authored the book “Five Past Midnight in Bhopal” about the deadly gas tragedy, Tuesday expressed hope that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will soon set up the Empowered Commission to look into the matter.

Addressing a press conference on the eve of the 25th anniversary of the Bhopal gas Tragedy, Lapierre said: “I hope that Manmohan Singh would facilitate setting up the commission and the state chief minister will stop his opposition to this commission and will provide all help to ushering in a sustained and positive change for the people who have been suffering for the last 25 years.”

Lapierre, who was awarded the Padma Bhushan last year, stated that he was pleased to know that the proposal for the Empowered Commission has been approved by several ministries of the union government. “I think that as an autonomous and publicly accountable body with adequate funds and authority, the commission on Bhopal will do the very urgent work of rebuilding the lives of the poisoned people of Bhopal.”

He said he was sure that the international community will support such a commission with funds and expertise and himself volunteered to raise international assistance for the work of the commission. Lapierre also spoke on his long association with the Sambhavna Trust of which he is a regular supporter. The trust runs a clinic to provide medical treatment to the victims of the gas tragedy.

He said that while Sambhavna takes care of a fraction of the affected population, he was sure that many of the therapies and techniques developed at Sambhavna could be used to provide effective medical care to the entire affected population.

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