Padyatris prepare to set out

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

February 17, 2006
Survivors of the Union Carbide disaster in Bhopal and people poisoned by ground water contamination from the pesticide factory that caused the world’s worst industrial disaster on December 3, 1984 will start their Bhopal to New Delhi Padyatra (march on foot) on February 20, 2006.
Over 100 Padyatris will start walking “to the office of the Prime Minister at Raisina Hill, New Delhi” from the Union Carbide factory at 11 AM on Monday. They have already hand delivered the information on the 800 kilometers long march to the offices of the Prime Minister and the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh along with their six-point charter of demands.
The four survivors’ organizations are seeking the Prime Minister’s personal intervention in ensuring “justice and a life of dignity for the people poisoned by Union Carbide and its current owner Dow Chemical”.
Their demands include immediate supply of safe water to the communities with ground water contamination, speedy prosecution of Union Carbide Corporation and its officials and blacklisting of Dow Chemical till it pays for environmental and health damages caused due to reckless dumping of hazardous wastes.
The organisations : Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmachari Sangh, Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha, Bhopal ki Aawaaz and Bhopal Group for Information and Action also demand the setting up of a “National Commission on Bhopal” for long term medical care, research and economic and social rehabilitation of the victims. They demand that the disaster in Bhopal must be made part of educational curricula and the creation of a memorial to the disaster with full participation of the victims.
A team of supporters in New Delhi will be communicating the demands of the Padyatris to the Director of the Bhopal cell in the Ministry of Chemicals on a daily basis. Supporters in other parts of the country will organize rallies and signature petitions to the Prime Minister. Members of the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal will hold demonstrations at Indian embassies in USA and other countries in support of the campaign.
The ICJB’s campaign web site is providing communication support to the marchers who will be updating blogs on a daily basis.
With their ages ranging from 19 to 70 years, the Padyatris are from gas affected areas such as Jai Prakash Nagar and Risaldar Colony as well as from areas that are affected by contamination of ground water such as Shiv Shakti Nagar and Blue Moon Colony. Their five week long journey will take them through Guna, Shivpuri, Gwalior, Dholpur Agra, Mathura, Ballabhgarh and other towns and villages in four states.
Walking between 25 and 35 kilometers every day, the Padyatris will depend on villagers and townspeople for food and shelter. They will exhibit posters, screen films and address public meetings along the way to create awareness about industrial pollution, corporate accountability and other issues of the Bhopal campaign. The four organizations today made an appeal to the people of Bhopal for financial and material support to the Padyatris and requested persons from the media to join in the march.
Rashida Bee, Champa Devi Shukla
Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmachari Sangh
+91 93031 32959
Syed M Irfan
Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha
+91 93290 26319
Shahid Noor
Bhopal ki Aawaaz
+91 98261 82226
Satinath Sarangi, Rachna Dhingra
Bhopal Group for Information & Action
+91 98261 67369
Contact :
House No. 12, Gali No. 2, Near Naseer Masjid,
Bag Umrao Dulha, Bhopal 462 010
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