The report below appeared in today’s Hindustan Times newspapers.
In May 2004, getting on for two years ago the Indian Supreme Court ordered the government of Madhya Pradesh to supply clean safe drinking water to communities in Bhopal, some 20,000 people, whose wells were poisoned by chemicals leaking from the abandoned Union Carbide factory.
The politicians simply ignored the order. When, after a year, local women protested, they were set upon by police and badly beaten. When eighteen months had gone by, then Chief Minister Babulal Gaur promised to help his “sisters”, but unsurprisingly broke his promise.
Now Gaur, who was kicked out as Chief Minister but rewarded with the posts of Commerce and Industries minister and minister for Gas Relief, is at the centre of scheme to provide Union Carbide’s latest victims with water from another contaminated source.
The condition of Bhopal’s gas victims remains dire and critical, 21 years after the disaster, not just because of the callous and criminal behaviour of Union Carbide and its owner Dow Chemical, but the equally callous, contemptuous and negligent behaviour of local politicians.
Please keep checking www.bhopal.net and www.studentsforbhopal.org to see what action you can take to help Dow/Carbide’s neglected and abused victims.
Rs 1.43 Crore plan for water supply in gas hit areas
The Bhopal Municipal Corporation (BMC) administration has prepared a Rs. 1.43 crore water supply scheme in the gas hit areas. The water would be supplied in the gas hit areas from the tube-wells in Raslakhedi.
Commerce and Industries minister Babulal Gaur and Mayor Sunil Sood today inspected the areas today. During the visit, BMC officials informed that they prepared a scheme to deal with the water crisis in the affected areas. The implementation of the scheme is underway and expected to be completed in six months. Till then the BMC is supplying water through the tankers. The work costs Rs 2.5 lakh per month.
The gas affected colonies facing water crisis are Atal Ayub Nagar, New Arif Nagar, Annu Nagar, Nawab Colony, Shriram Colony, Sundar Nagar, Prem Nagar, Blue Moon Colony, Timber Market, Chandbadi, Garib Nagar, Shiv Shakti Nagar, Priti Nagar and Shiv Nagar. About 20,000 residents live in these colonies. The BMC officials said these colonies require about 8 lakh litres water per day. The BMC admitted that it has been supplying 2.52 lakh litres water through tankers.
According to the BMC there is a long term plan to supply water from the Idgah Filtration Plant. However, it would take about four years for the scheme. For the purpose the expansion of Idgah Filtration plant is underway. According to BMC plans, four tube-wells were dug at Raslakhedi. The colonies would be provided water through pipelines from teh tubewells. During the visit several residents complained of seepage of oil from an oil company depot in ground water.
The Mayor directed the officials to issue notice to the Hindustan Petroleum, whose storage tanks are situated in Nishatpura . BMC commissioner Manish Singh and corporators of the area wer also present during this visit.