Tag Archives: Madhya Pradesh

Bhopal Gas victims stage dharna & demand that MP government stop misleading the Supreme Court in the matter of additional compensation

Press Statement

July 25, 2019

Hundreds of survivors of the Union Carbide disaster sat on a day long Dharna (sit-in) today demanding that the state government stop misleading the Supreme Court in the matter of additional compensation by downplaying the damage caused by the disaster. Led jointly by four local organizations, the survivors called upon the state government to correct the figures of deaths and extent of health damages caused by the disaster in the Curative Petition that is expected to be heard by the apex court soon.

Continue reading Bhopal Gas victims stage dharna & demand that MP government stop misleading the Supreme Court in the matter of additional compensation

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गैस हादसे के सैंकड़ों पीड़ितों ने धरना देकर प्रदेश सरकार से यह माँग की कि वह अतिरिक्त मुआवज़े के मामले में सर्वोच्च न्यायालय को गुमराह करना बंद करे

प्रेस विज्ञप्ति

दिनांक 25 जुलाई 2019

भोपाल में यूनियन कार्बाइड गैस हादसे के सैंकड़ों पीड़ितों ने आज दिन भर धरना देकर प्रदेश सरकार से यह माँग की कि वह गैस काण्ड की वजह से पहुँची नुकसान को छुपाकर अतिरिक्त मुआवज़े के मामले में सर्वोच्च न्यायालय को गुमराह करना बंद करे | चार स्थानीय संगठनों द्वारा आयोजित धरने में पीड़ितों ने प्रदेश सरकार से यह माँग की कि वह उस सुधार याचिका में गैस हादसे की वजह से हुई मौतों और बीमारियों के आँकड़ें सुधारे जिसकी सर्वोच्च न्यायालय में जल्द सुनवाई होनेवाली है |

Continue reading गैस हादसे के सैंकड़ों पीड़ितों ने धरना देकर प्रदेश सरकार से यह माँग की कि वह अतिरिक्त मुआवज़े के मामले में सर्वोच्च न्यायालय को गुमराह करना बंद करे

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Survivors ask Chief Minister to withdraw false cases

DOWNLOAD THE LETTER IN THE ORIGINAL HINDI

 

To,
The Chief Minister
Government of Madhya Pradesh
Mantralaya, Vallabh Bhawan
Bhopal, M.P.

25 January 2012

Sub: Application for withdrawal of criminal cases against over 2000 gas victims in connection with the incident of violence on the 27th anniversary of the Union Carbide gas disaster in Bhopal.

Respected Chief Minister,

We, five organisations of victims of the Union Carbide disaster in Bhopal and their supporters are sending this letter to you with the hope that you will consider the facts and arguments regarding the incident of violence on 27th anniversary of the gas disaster (3 December 2011) presented below and arrive at a rational and just decision and accordingly issue directions for appropriate action.

1.The following facts related to the protest action by survivors under the leadership of us, five organizations on December 3, 2011 deserve consideration

A.The protest was centered on a legitimate demand
Through this protest, we were demanding that the governments at the centre and state carry out necessary corrections in the figures of deaths and injuries caused by Union Carbide based on figures of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and hospitals meant for gas affected people in the curative petition filed in the Supreme Court.

We were only demanding that the governments at the centre and state act honestly towards obtaining proper compensation from the American companies and the first demonstration of this would be the presentation of correct figures in the curative petition pending before the Supreme Court because currently the figures are much lower than actual and are wrong.

We were not pushing for some new figures. All we were doing was seek revisions in the curative petition on the basis of findings of the scientific institutions and medical documentation of the government’s at the center and the state.

B.We had communicated this demand to the state government in July 2011, but for six months we received no reply. We had sent letters to your office on 25 July 2011, 17 October 2011 and on 19 November 2011 demanding revision in the figures of death and injury as presented in the curative petition before the Supreme Court by the state government. However we did not receive a single reply to any of the letters.

Likewise, we received no response to the letters we wrote to the Chief Secretary on 28 October 2011 and 19 November 2011 and that sent to the Principal Secretary, Bhopal Gas Tragedy Relief and Rehabilitation Department on 19 November 2011.

C.This demand is being raised by us to protect the legal rights of the gas victims. All victims of the disaster of 3 December 84 in Bhopal have the legal right to be adequately compensated for the physical and mental injuries caused by the disaster.

Through the Bhopal Act of 1985, the Government of India arrogated to itself sole powers to receive compensation from Union Carbide. In 1985 the Government of India sought $3.3 billion as compensation under the Act. In 1989 the central government, without consulting a single victim entered into a settlement with the American company for $470 million which was approved by the Supreme Court on 14-15 February 1989. Because of the paltry settlement amount, 93% of gas victims received only Rs 25000 as compensation.

The state government also had an important role in the violation of the legal rights of Bhopal gas victims. To justify the low settlement amount, the Claims Directorate of the state government followed a faulty system of injury assessment and pronounced 93% of the gas victims as having suffered only temporary injury.

At the June 2010 meeting of the Group of Ministers on Bhopal (composed of ministers from both the state and central governments) it was accepted that the legal rights to adequate compensation of the Bhopal victims had been violated. The Group of Ministers decided on presenting a curative petition before the Supreme Court to obtain additional compensation from the American companies and this decision was subsequently implemented. Regrettably, in both the curative petitions the figure of death is about four times less than the actual and 93% gas victims have been said to be only temporarily injured. It is worth mentioning that Union Carbide’s own document says that damage caused by MIC gas is permanent, not temporary.

Clearly if corrections are not made in the curative petitions on the basis of scientific figures available with the government, once again Bhopal gas victims will be denied their legal rights. If correct facts are not placed before the court, even if the court is committed to justice, a correct judgment is not possible.

D.Our demand is for protection of the constitutional rights of the gas victims.
In the meeting of the Group of Ministers on June 2010 described above, following the admission that Bhopal gas victims have received inadequate compensation it was decided that families of the deceased and those victims with serious injury would be paid ex gratia amounts as relief.

This decision taken by ministers of the central and state governments was clearly against the fundamental constitutional rights of 93% of the victims (Right to Equality, Right to Life, Right to Justice). In the last 27 years because of the utter failure of the central and state governments in providing medical care and economic, social and environmental rehabilitation, majority gas victims are denied their basic needs and this discrimination against them in payment of ex-gratia amounts is clearly unconstitutional. It is worth mentioning that following from the decision by the Group of Ministers on Bhopal 5,27,000 out of 5,74,000 who had earlier received only Rs 25000 as compensation were denied any ex gratia amount and the state government has not taken any steps regarding this.

E.The protest action for legitimate demand on December 3, 2011 was peaceful.
We had called for peaceful Rail Roko on December 3 2011 in which thousands of gas victims took part at six places between Subash Nagar railway crossing and Nishatpura. In five out of these six places – Nishatpura, Kainchi Chhola, Chhola Naka, Berasia Road Crossing and Bharat Talkies overbridge there was no breach of peace at all. Only at one spot, Barkhedi-Aishbag railway crossing, there was violence that was initiated by District administration and police officials about which we will present facts later. We would like to bring to your attention that to ensure that protest on December 3, 2011 remained peaceful we had explained the method of peaceful protest to the gas victims through a video film that was screened in different communities over a period of one and a half month.

F.Our peaceful protest was pre announced and the administration had sufficient notice.
As has been said above in Para A, we five organisations have given detailed information regarding our demand to the state government since July 2011. In addition, through our rally of July 25 2011, successful Bhopal bandh on 11 October 2011 and several press conferences, we have provided detailed information related to our demand and on protest actions organized by us to secure this demand.

With regard to the rail roko protest organized on December 3, 2011 we had announced it at a press conference on 17 October 2011 and we had conveyed this information in our letters to the state government on 28 October 2011 and 19 November 2011. Had the state government responded to any of our letters in the six months or discussed the matter with us in the month following the announcement of rail roko, possibly there would have been no need for a rail roko. In this regard it is indeed regrettable that the Collector invited us for a discussion on rail roko protest on December 2, 2011 but he refused to take responsibility to organize a meeting for us with the official of the state government who could take a decision on the matter.

G.We had done our best to ensure that rail passengers are troubled as little as possible because of our rail roko. Three weeks prior to rail roko protest we bought Google Ads and through that and through our website publicized the proposed protest action requesting potential passengers to change their journey date or route. Over 2,00,000 people have read our announcement and advice on the internet. Additionally gas victims participating in the rail roko action reached food and water to the passengers on a large scale.

2.The following suggest that District administration and police officials are primarily responsible for the incident of violence at one out of six protest spots on December 3, 2011.

A.Lack of preparation.
As has been mentioned above, because we had made prior announcement and the preparation for the protest action were all in public, the District administration and police officials had more than enough notice for adequate preparation. Despite this there was serious negligence in this respect. Lack of preparedness is a significant reason behind irregularities committed by the officials at the place of incident and this has been taken in cognizance by the State Human Rights Commission that has sought answers from concerned officials.

B.Lack of Patience
After the rail roko protest action began on December 3, 2011, the Collector asked one of our colleagues, Mrs. Rashida Bee to come for a meeting with the Chief Minister with 10 persons. Mrs. Rashida Bee sought ten minutes time from him so that she could discuss it with other organisation leaders. However the Collector could not wait for ten minutes and ordered cane charging in 3 to 4 minutes thus, initiating violence.

C.Taking away the PA system
It is worth mentioning that on 3 December 2011 the means to establish communication with the protestors was the PA system which was taken away by the police following orders from the officials just before the cane charge. After police began the violence we leaders were not able to pacify those protestors who had resorted to counter violence as self protection.

D.Cane charge without warning
As been mentioned above in Para A & B because of lack of preparation, required patience and knowledge of established rules, the Collector gave an order of cane charging without any warning. The State Human Rights Commission has asked questions in this regard that remain unanswered till date. The first protestors to be beaten up and left bleeding were the old women who were taking part in peaceful protest. The young men who came forward to save the lives of these old women were also beaten with sticks which was the reason for eruption of violence.

E.Profanities by police officials
Before sticks started raining on the protestors the city Superintendent of Police, Mrs. Monica Shukla publicly abused the women and used humiliating language against the protestors for which there are several eye witnesses.

F.Stone pelting by police
Following the order of cane charging a few people, in order to protect the old women and themselves, threw stones at the police. In response to this, the police resorted to stone pelting in a huge scale about which we have substantial photo and video evidence.

G.Tear gas and firing without warning
Following cane charging and stone pelting by the police, tear gas shells were burst without warning that lead to critical injuries to a 14 year old Daud Ansari causing grievous hurt.

H.Police setting fire to vehicles
Several government and public vehicles were set on fire on 3 December 2011. According to a reliable witness a policemen standing next to her handed over a piece of cloth to man who had covered his face with handkerchief and asked him to set a particular vehicle on fire. We have a photograph of the man with his face covered with a handkerchief.

I.Police entered people’s homes, beat them and caused damage to their property after the incident of violence.
We have reliable witnesses and evidence that show that one hour after peace was restored in the area, 40-50 policemen entered some 20-25 houses in Umrao Dulha Bag near Gol Kabristan and beat up people with sticks and kicked them. The policemen damaged furniture and broke doors and windows and smashed 10-15 vehicles parked outside.

J.The police arrested innocent people in an illegal manner.
Following the incident of violence, 14 persons who were gas victims themselves or children of gas affected parents were arrested by the police. They were beaten badly with sticks in presence of several eye witnesses and many of them were also beaten up at the police station. The arrested persons were not informed about the charges against them and they were not allowed to contact their family members and lawyers. They were stripped to their underwear at the police station and were not provided with any food or protection from cold.

3.District administration and police officials are themselves aware of their role in the incident of violence on December 3 2011.
It is worth mentioning that since the incident of December 3, 2011 the District administration and police official are busy trying to defend themselves and suppress facts. This is the reason why despite repeated questioning by the State Human Rights Commission the Collector and police officials have not responded to a single question. It is worth mentioning that in order to receive answers to these questions the Commission has sent reminders.

The defensive posture assumed by the District administration and police officials is further evident by the fact that despite our personal and public requests the police officials have not presented a single photographic or video evidence to support the allegation that any of the named accused (leaders of our organisations) were either involved with violence or with instigating violence.

4.Action under severe sections are being undertaken to cover up the irregularities and misdeeds of the police.

Legal action is ongoing against 14 persons under 17 criminal sections including Section 307 (murderous assault) and because of the following reasons it is prima facie evident that the accused were not part of the violence.

A.6 of the 14 people who are in jail for last one and a half month have got documentary evidence to establish that they were away from the scene of violence and at their workplace during the incident of violence. 1 among the 6, Pooran Vishwakarma lost his father while he was in jail and he was let out on parole for just three hours four days after his father’s death.

B.Two other persons have got documentary evidence to show that they were busy in preparations for their sister’s wedding that same evening. Both of them were arrested at a petrol pump 1km away from the place of incident with their motorcycle.

C.None of the 14 persons arrested have any previous criminal charge against them.

5.17 grave criminal sections against 2000 gas victims including 35 named accused are without any basis.

Because of the following reasons, the criminal cases against the gas victims are prima facie baseless, faulty and ill motivated.

A.The named accused include gas affected women who are sick and above 80 years of age and incapable of committing crimes described in the FIR (stone pelting, use of sticks, use of firearms and country made guns, setting fire to vehicles, using sharp edged weapons and causing destruction to public property).

B.The named accused include 17 yr old Safreen who is a child of gas affected parents and is herself sick from being exposed to contaminated ground water and is unable to commit the crimes described above.

C.The named accused include 8 women, many of whom are above 60 years age, who had been arrested and sent to jail prior to the incident of violence.

D.The named accused includes persons who were not at the scene of violence before, during or after the incident. There is video evidence with the police that establishes that one of these persons was 4 kms away from the scene of violence.

E.The First Information Report (FIR) lists weapons (sticks, sharp edged weapons, country made guns, firearems) which are not seen in any of the photos or videos while the police claims that the entire incident has been videographed.

With regard to the facts and arguments presented in Para 1-4 above, we would like to clarify that we have substantial evidence and documents to substantiate each and every fact and argument presented. We have attempted to make this letter as brief as possible keeping in mind your busy schedule. However a few important documents related to the criminal cases against gas victims are being appended.

Finally on behalf of the victims of the world’s worst industrial disaster we request you to set up an independent and impartial inquiry on the incident of violence on 3 December 2011 described above as per your promise.

We hope that till such an inquiry is initiated you will give rational and just direction for withdrawal of criminal cases against the arrested persons and 2000 gas victims.

Awaiting your reply, we remain
Thanking You

Sincerely

Rashida Bi, Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh
94256 88215

Nawab Khan, Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha
9302792493

Balkrishna Namdeo, Bhopal Gas Peedit Nirashrit Pension Bhogi Sangharsh Morcha

Satinath Sarangi, Rachna Dhingra, Bhopal Group for Information and Action
9826167369

Safreen Khan, Children Against Dow Carbide

Enclosures: 1. First Information Report of 6 cases
2. Information on arrested persons

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India’s most Secret Incinerator is here

18-July-2011

http://www.tehelka.com/story_main50.asp?filename=Ws180711India.asp#

The Madhya Pradesh high court has ordered that the DRDE dispose off toxic waste from union carbide’s bhopal plant. Why the secrecy?

INDIA MAY have sent rockets into space. But as a nation, we are not yet potty trained. With more than six decades of industrialisation behind us, one would think that India would have a policy to deal with the remediation and restoration of pollution hotspots. But no. Our continued bungling of the Union Carbide contamination in Bhopal is a sorry case in point. In the lead up to the 25th anniversary of the Bhopal gas leak, the Madhya Pradesh government wanted to convey to people that the issue of contamination had been resolved, and that time was such a great healer that even without doing anything, the highly contaminated Bhopal factory site had magically cleaned itself up. How did the government do that? By getting scientists to say that the site is safe and that whatever was toxic is no longer toxic.

One prominent scientist recruited for this job was R Vijayaraghavan, Director of the Defence Research Development Establishment (DRDE), a supposedly high-tech laboratory of the Ministry of Defence. For an R&D agency with such pretences, the director’s statement on the Bhopal toxic waste was frighteningly simplistic. “For a 70kg man, there will not be any death even if he takes 200gm (of toxic wastes stored inside Carbide’s premises) by oral route,” he wrote in an official opinion given to Madhya Pradesh. His conclusion was worse. The government’s plans to open the factory site for public visits, he wrote, would not cause ‘any untoward, adverse or toxic effect to the public’.

Going by his suggestion, recruiting 17.5 lakh men weighing above 70 kg to consume about 200 grams of Carbide wastes each should take care of the 350 tons of toxic wastes without troubling anybody.

Bhopal activists countered this scientific skullduggery in their own comical, cynical way. Exactly a week before the 25th anniversary, they served up a banquet with a difference. On the menu was an assortment of ‘toxic delicacies’ – Semi-processed Pesticide on Watercress; Naphthol Tar Fondue; Sevin Tar Souffle; Reactor Residue Quiche; and Lime Sludge Mousse. All served with a complimentary bottle of B’eau Pal water. “Your appetite will contribute to a cleaner Bhopal,” invitees were told. Vijayaraghavan was named as the chef of the faux banquet.

Bhopalis are totally unimpressed by Vijayaraghavan’s brand of ‘science’. But the Madhya Pradesh High Court has unquestioningly reposed its faith in the Defence Laboratory. The court is hearing a case filed in 2004 seeking directions to make Dow Chemical clean up and compensate the affected people. A number of Bhopal organisations have impleaded in the matter. Time and again, they have underlined that any remediation effort must be informed by science, that the science must be subject to public scrutiny, and that the polluter must pay. On July 12, the court ordered that about 350 tons of toxic and obsolete pesticides currently stored in Union Carbide’s factory should be disposed of at the Defence Research Development Organisation’s (DRDO) facility located in the vicinity of Nagpur.

The said DRDO facility is truly off the radar. Jairam Ramesh is credited with having identified this hidden facility. If national security hinges on keeping the plant’s location secret, then our security is soon to be breached. The plant’s location will not remain secret for long as nosy journalists and apprehensive residents from Nagpur would make a beeline for it. Already, there are murmurs that DRDO’s mysterious operation is in Buti Bori, an industrial area 35 km from Nagpur.This is the third attempt to burn the wastes. The first two were abandoned after residents living near those facilities highlighted the inadequacy of the incinerators in handling Carbide’s wastes. The incinerator in Ankleshwar, Gujarat, caught fire because it had stored several hundred tons of toxic wastes in violation of its own hazardous waste authorisation. The explosion happened in April 2008 when Bhopalis were sitting on dharna in Jantar Mantar demanding, among other things, that the Bhopal wastes should be disposed of without subjecting other communities to another slow- motion Bhopal.

This is the third attempt to burn the wastes. The first two were abandoned after residents living near those facilities highlighted the inadequacy of the incinerators in handling Carbide’s wastes. The incinerator in Ankleshwar, Gujarat, caught fire because it had stored several hundred tons of toxic wastes in violation of its own hazardous waste authorisation. The explosion happened in April 2008 when Bhopalis were sitting on dharna in Jantar Mantar demanding, among other things, that the Bhopal wastes should be disposed of without subjecting other communities to another slow- motion Bhopal.

The second facility was in Pithampur, near Indore. This facility was constructed cheek-by-jowl with a residential area, in violation of setback guidelines. Incidentally, locating the Union Carbide facility in a densely populated part of town was an important contributor to the Bhopal disaster’s massive death and injury toll. The Pithampur facility too had an explosion nearly killing a worker just days before Jairam Ramesh was to visit it.

The Madhya Pradesh High Court’s order is problematic, even illegal, on many counts. Time and again, bureaucrats, politicians and now the court have used the fact that these wastes have lain here so long as a justification for getting rid of it quickly, by any means and for bypassing due process. The very least that needs to happen if the Bhopal wastes are destined to a facility is to verify if that facility has the wherewithal to receive the wastes. Other questions have to be answered too. Is the facility licensed? Does the facility have a good track record? Incineration is not just about burning; does the facility have a suitable mechanism to dispose the highly toxic ash and residue generated by burning the wastes? Are the people living near the facility comfortable with the facility’s operations? Was the facility designed to receive and dispose the kinds of wastes currently stored in Bhopal? Are workers and people in the vicinity informed enough to react suitably in the event of an emergency?

These are not irrelevant questions. Had they been raised before Bhopal, the world’s worst industrial disaster may never have happened. But we are a nation addicted to political and social expediency. Forget what is right, whatever can be pushed through must. The court has directed DRDE director to instruct DRDO to make arrangements to receive, store and dispose the toxic wastes as and when it is brought from Bhopal starting right away. The state government is directed to start packing and transporting the wastes within 10 days.

I made some phone calls, nothing that state pollution control boards or the environment ministry could not have done. It turns out that the DRDO facility is truly secret. People don’t even know where it is. The Maharashtra Pollution Control Board agrees that there is a facility somewhere near Nagpur,and that it does secret things. One person told me an incinerator was commissioned at the facility about 18 months ago to destroy some super-toxic military stuff, something to do with the Brahmos missile project. The regional officer of Maharashtra Pollution Control Board was categorical: “If you’re releasing pollutants to air or water, you have to get our consent. Defence establishments have no exemption as far as I know. The ammunition factory in Nagpur has our license.”

THE DRDO facility has never been inspected by the regulatory body. Till date, nobody has approached the Pollution Control Board seeking its approval. The facility does not have a license to operate. It does not have a hazardous waste authorisation. It has not submitted the mandatory emergency response plan to the district administration. The DRDO has said that its responsibility begins only after it receives the wastes from Madhya Pradesh. But as things stand, if the operator of the DRDO facility were to comply with the Madhya Pradesh High Court order, he or she could land up in jail for up to two years for violating environmental laws and handling hazardous wastes without authorisation. Licensing formalities aside, experts are skeptical whether the incinerator would actually be able to deal with the Bhopal wastes.

The secret DRDO facility is truly off the radar. But its location will not remain secret for long as nosy journalists and apprehensive residents from Nagpur make a beeline for it. There are murmurs already that it is in Buti Bori, 35 km from Nagpur

Thermax is the largest incinerator manufacturer in the country. It has supplied incinerators to the DRDO. Its CEO Unnikrishnan was categorical when asked if Indian incinerators can handle the Bhopal wastes. In a May 2010 letter that has been submitted to the high court, Unnikrishnan said: “To the best of our knowledge, there aren’t any incinerators currently in operation within our country that has the level of sophistication and safety systems in-built to tackle the waste under consideration.” A consultant advising GTZ, the German bilateral technical extension agency, concurs. This is particularly significant because the Germans are known to have perfected the art of destruction by burning.

The Bhopal wastes contain high levels of chlorinated chemicals and heavy metals. Burning chlorinated material in the presence of heavy metals is the best recipe for generating dioxins, a category of carcinogenic, immune system-busting chemicals that are the most toxic substances known to science. The opaque manner in which authorities have attempted to deal with the Bhopal wastes does not bode well for the evolution of a robust policy to deal with contaminated sites. Survivors’ groups say they were taken by surprise by the order as they were never consulted or heard on the matter. An October 2003 order of the Supreme Court is unequivocal in its emphasis on community participation in any matter relating to hazardous wastes. Clearly, the decision to send the Bhopal wastes to a secret DRDO facility in a clandestine manner is not informed by this apex court decision.

It is not just the Bhopal groups that were in the dark. Eminent scientist and Padma Bhushan awardee PM Bhargava is part of a technical committee appointed by the court to advice on disposal plans for the Bhopal wastes. He too had no idea about the current proposal until I spoke with him. “It is pertinent to know what the design specifications of the DRDO incinerator are, and whether it is designed to handle such wastes,” he says.

Bhopal survivors may have been denied an opportunity to comment on the proposal. But, the court records in its order its invitation to Dow Chemical to suggest a cheaper option. The consideration shown to Dow’s financial well-being is curious given that the American company has consistently refused to submit to the writ of Indian courts.

All this makes one wonder whether the rule of law and science-based decision-making are mere rhetoric. India is a country strewn with toxic hotspots. In Kodaikanal, a toxic mercury hotspot caused by Unilever’s thermometer factory has clocked 10 years without clean-up. In Mettur, farmers have registered complaints of groundwater and soil contamination by Chemplast’s chemical factories since the late 1960s. In Roro, Jharkhand, an abandoned hill of asbestos wastes, which has poisoned the air for decades, continues to spew lung-crippling fibres of death. Entire stretches of industrial areas, in Vapi, Ankleshwar, Vellore, Patancheru, Sukhinda valley are industrial disaster zones begging for remediation. In all these cases, agencies of the state are yet to decide whether the environment is contaminated, whether the contamination is caused by the company and whether the company is liable to repair the damages and compensate farmers.

One would imagine that the government and the courts would use the perverse opportunity provided by the Bhopal disaster to better advantage – to develop mechanisms to ensure that factories don’t pollute, and to implement a rigid polluter pays regime to enforce clean-up to world standards in a transparent manner, and to deter polluters.

But left to the agencies of the state, no such policy will emerge. After every disaster like Bhopal, or every time that we discover pollution as with Unilever’s mercury pollution in Kodaikanal, citizens will have to wage a battle against the combined might of the polluter and regulator over decades to get a place cleaned up. Forget rehabilitation of the Bhopal site. Perhaps, it is time we focused on cleaning up the state.

Nityanand Jayaraman is a Volunteer Campaign for Justice, Bhopal.

 

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Survivors demonstrate at M.P. Pollution Control Board

Over 100 survivors of the Union Carbide disaster and people exposed to ground water contaminated by Union Carbide’s hazardous waste, today demonstrated at the office of the Madhya Pradesh Pollution Control Board demanding explanation of its role in the toxic exposure and injury of six workers at the MP Waste Management Facility at Pithampur near Indore.

Organizations leading the victims presented documents obtained through RTI that demonstrate that the MP Pollution Control Board (MPPCB) granted Consent for Operation for incineration to the MP waste management facility run by Ramky Enviro Engineers on March 18, 2010 despite several violations of Hazardous Waste Management Rules.

“The village Tarpura is only about 200 meters from the incinerator. We have been there and seen how close people live to the incinerator” said Satinath Sarangi of Bhopal Group for Information and Action. He pointed out that this is a clear violation of Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) guidelines that stipulate that there should be no habitation within 500 meters of a waste management facility.

Pointing out that this violation has been recorded in several inspection reports between 2008 and 2010 carried out by MPPCB and CPCB, Balkrishna Namdeo of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Nirashrit Pension Bhogi Sangharsh Morcha said “Ramky has been allowed to run its project without installing such critical facilities as Multi Effect Evaporator and Mechanical Stabilizing system. These deficiencies among many others have been recorded but have been overlooked ultimately to help Dow Chemical current owner of Union Carbide”.

According to the organizations top waste management experts are unanimous that there are no waste management facilities in India that can safely dispose off Union Carbide’s hazardous waste and it can only be done in advanced facilities such as in Canada, USA, Germany and Denmark.

The organizations held that Dow Chemical alone has the financial and technical resources for safe transportation and disposal of Union Carbide’s wastes. They complain that instead of making Dow Chemical pay for it, the central and state governments have decided to dispose off the waste as cheaply as possible without any consideration to safety of workers and residents or to rules governing waste management.

“The toxic exposure and injury of workers at Pithampur demonstrates the criminal negligence of both the state and central governments. The Ramky incinerator was being used as per the recommendations of the Group of Ministers on Bhopal and the directions of the Cabinet Committee that were based on them. Succumbing to pressures from the central and state governments the MPPCB showed utter disregard to its mandate of controlling pollution.” said Abdul Jabbar, Convenor of Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Udyog Sangathan.

Safreen Khan
Children Against Dow-Carbide
Mob. 9826994797

Balkrishna Namdeo
Bhopal Gas Peedit Nirashrit Pension Bhogi Sangharsh Morcha
Mob. 9826345423

Abdul Jabbar
Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Udyog Sangathan
Mob. 9406511720

Syed M Irfan
Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha
Mob. 9329026319

Rashida Bee,
Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh
Mob. 9425688215

Rachna Dhingra, Satinath Sarangi
Bhopal Group for Information and Action
Mob. 9826167369

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