The Bhopal Memorial Hospital Trust
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In October 1991 the Supreme Court of India directed Union Carbide Corporation, USA, principal accused of the world's worst industrial disaster, to finance a 500-bed hospital for the long term medical care of survivors. In response, Union Carbide set up the Bhopal Hospital Trust (BHT) in February 1992 in England with its former attorney as the sole trustee and with just US $ 1000 as its contribution. The rest of the funds of the BHT came from the sale of Union Carbide's Indian shares that were confiscated by the Bhopal District court in response to the company absconding the criminal case.

On August 11th 1998, the BHT was Indianised to form the Bhopal Hospital Memorial Trust {BMHT}. The Supreme Court judge who overrode the order of the Bhopal court and allowed sale of confiscated shares in the face of legal opposition of the survivors, now retired, is the Chairperson of BMHT. Of the three Bhopal-based trustees of BMHT, two have left.

The BHT and now the BMHT's plans for health care of the survivors of the disaster include running a 260-bed hospital (situated 5 kms away from the severely affected communities without any public transport) and 10 community clinics in different parts of the gas affected area. While five community clinics are currently running the inauguration of the hospital awaits the visit of a Head of State.

The BHT/BMHT's plans for health care have been severely criticised by national and international groups including the International Medical Commission on Bhopal. Inadequacies pointed out by health care professionals include absence of a community health care perspective, undue attention and expenditure on facilities not related to gas exposure such as cardio-thorasic surgery and alarming use of harmful and unnecessary drugs in the community clinics.

Given its principal role in the medical disaster in Bhopal that followed in the wake of the gas leak it is indeed ironic that Union Carbide Corporation, USA, today projects a caring image of itself through its hospital project in Bhopal, in its publicity campaign and more prominently on its website

Meanwhile official complaints against unauthorised withdrawal and expenditure of Rs. 5 crores by the sole trustee of BHT lie pending in the Supreme Court. Also, a case of violation of the Child Labour Act by the BHT lies pending with the Labour Commissioner for employing children as young as 10 year old in the construction of the hospital building.

Watch this space for more articles and information concerning
the Bhopal Memorial Hospital Trust activities...

When Money is Not Enough - Inadequate Health Care in Bhopal   6.12.2000
IMCB submission to the empowered committee:
IMCB recommendations regarding the role of the Bhopal Hospital Trust given to concerned officials of the Indian Government
International Medical Commission on Bhopal 11.3.1996
Open Letter to Justice (Retd.) A M Ahmadi, Chairman, Bhopal Memorial Hospital Trust, Bhopal Abdul Jabbar, Convenor, BGPMUSangathan & Satinath Sarangi, Member, BGIA 7.8.2000