New Bhopal generation demands action

More than 1000 signatures collected as handprints from Bhopal’s Secondary and Higher Secondary students were delivered to the house of the Madyha Pradesh Governor today upon a 100 square metre cloth banner. The petition, originating from 10 schools in the gas affected areas of Bhopal, calls upon the Indian Prime Minister to ensure the supply of piped drinking water to communities affected by ground water contamination, and disbursal of the balance of compensation funds among those people solely entitled to it yet still waiting after fifteen years: the gas survivors of Bhopal.

The action comes even as US regulators convene this week to discuss evidence that the chemical trichloroethene is sixty times more toxic than originally feared. Almost five years ago, trichloroethene was found at levels fifty times US EPA limits in the water of an Atul Ayub Nagar tubewell. To prevent the local community having to continue consuming this and other poisons in their daily water, all the government needs to do is connect pipes to ten overhead water tanks constructed over two years ago.

For more information on the trichloroethene scare, see this Wall Street Journal DOC1

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

February 24, 2004
Press Statement

A delegation representing organizations active on the issues of the December ’84 Union Carbide disaster met with the honourable Governor of Madhya Pradesh today and handed him a petition addressed to the Prime Minister. The petition by 1020 children of gas affected people calls upon the PM to issue directions for supply of piped drinking water to the communities affected by ground water contamination and for disbursal of balance of compensation funds among the victims. The petition was written on cloth and the children placed their signatures and palm prints on 100 meters of cloth.

Due to the reckless dumping of chemical wastes by Union Carbide, the drinking water supply for 20,000 residents near the abandoned factory is dangerously contaminated with organochlorines, mercury, and other chemicals known to cause cancer and birth defects. Breast milk of mothers in these communities is heavily contaminated. 10 overhead tanks built two years back by the state government remain unused as officials have not cared to lay down pipe lines. In their petition Bhopali children have urged the Prime Minister to issue necessary directions so that the contamination affected communities receive piped water supply.

The children also called upon the Prime Minister to issue directions for disbursal of the balance of compensation fund — Rs 1500 crore among the exposed people. This huge balance is a consequence of paltry compensation payments, increase in dollars to rupees exchange rate and accrued interest on the principal. Legally and morally the victims are entitled to receive their share of additional compensation from the balance of compensation fund.

Students in 25 colleges in USA and in Delhi University are carrying out solidarity actions today in support of the Bhopal survivors. College students in USA including people of Indian origin are writing to Indian embassies and consulates in support of the two demands. “We for Bhopal” a group of Delhi University students has organized a “Bhopal disaster : a Blot on Shining India” campaign in New Delhi.

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

Syed M Irfan, President
Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha

Rachna Dhingra, Member
Bhopal Group for Information and Action

Contact :
1. House No. 12, Gali No. 2, Near Naseer Masjid, Bag Umrao Dulha, Bhopal Tel: 3132298, 5259361
2. B-2 / 302, Sheetal Nagar, Berasia Road, Bhopal Tel : 9826167369

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Bushra, from Green Convent Higher Secondary School, talks to the press in front of the MP Governor’s mansion
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Students and representatives of Survivor groups demand safe water and distribution of the remaining compensation funds today
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The text of the petition

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