Press Release: RTI docs reveal MP government incompetent plan of action for rehabilitation for Bhopal Gas Victims

April 22, 2010: RTI docs reveal MP government incompetent plan of action for rehabilitation for Bhopal Gas Victims

Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmachari Sangh
Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangarsh Morcha
Children Against Dow-Carbide
Bhopal Group for Information and Action

At a press conference today, representatives of four organizations of survivors of the Union Carbide disaster in Bhopal presented documents obtained through the Right to Information Act to point out that in its  Rs 982 crores,  Action Plan submitted to the Central government, the state government accepts that 16, 000 people had died and 5000 women were widowed by the gas disaster that Union Carbide’s toxic waste had polluted the environment in and around the abandoned factory and that because of the genetic effect of the toxic gases, the next generation of survivors is also marked by Carbide’s poisons.

According to Satinath Sarangi, while the state government mentions these figures in the Action Plan, the Minister for Gas Relief in the state government continues to publicly deny these facts. “Despite these figures, this is not an Action Plan  for the welfare of the Bhopal survivors in fact this Action Plan illustrates all that is wrong with the state government’s role in providing rehabilitation to the victims.” said Sarangi who is a member of the Bhopal Group for Information and Action.

“While the Supreme Court monitoring committee recommended increasing the number of doctors and specialists, computerization of hospitals, development of effective treatment protocols and  improvement of quality of drugs, the action plan of the state government does not address any of these issues of medical care. Instead 95% of the budget for medical rehabilitation is proposed to be spent on purchasing equipment and construction so that Ministers and bureaucrats can make money as commission”, said Rashida Bee of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh.

Rachna Dhingra of Bhopal Group for Information & Action pointed out that the MP Government’s plans include the purchase of non-existent equipment with fictitious names such as “Automatic Micro-organism detection instrument” and “Identification & Sensitivity of micro-organism” supposedly priced at Rs. 23 and 14 lakhs respectively.

“We have it from the most authoritative sources that these equipment do not exist. This is just another instance of the ministers and bureaucrats in the state government trying to siphon off funds meant for medical care and rehabilitation of Bhopal victims. Currently, a former minister and former principal secretary of the Ministry of Bhopal Gas Tragedy Relief & Rehabilitation are facing criminal charges for owning wealth disproportionate to their incomes” said Dhingra.

According to Syed.M. Irfan of Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha, the proposed Action Plan for economic rehabilitation consists only of providing loans and makes no mention of the utilization of the work sheds that were built with Rs. 8 crores to provide gainful employment. “10,000 survivors were promised jobs in these and not a single person has got a job.” said Syed M. Irfan.

“The state government’s failure in providing  clean water to the people living next to the factory even four years after allocation of central funds is most illustrative of the its apathetic attitude towards the survivors and its incompetence in implementing projects” said Safreen Khan of Children Against Dow-Carbide. According to her more than 20, 000 people were still drinking poisoned ground water.

According to the organizations the state government’s plan of action has quite rightly received adverse comments from the Ministry of Chemicals & Fertilizers and the Planning Commission. Both of these agencies have recommended that the cause of the rehabilitation of the victims would be better served by setting up of the Empowered Commission on Bhopal.

Members of the Bhopal survivors’ organizations who are currently on an indefinite dharna at Jantar Mantar said that setting up the Empowered Commission on Bhopal was urgently required to provide people proper medical care and adequate rehabilitation that has been denied to them for last 25 years.
Rashida Bee, Champa Devi Shukla
Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmachari Sangh

Syed M Irfan,
Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha

Rachna Dhingra, Satinath Sarangi,
Bhopal Group for Information and Action

Safreen Khan
Children Against Dow Carbide


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