Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh): Ahead of the 39th anniversary of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy, five outfits working for the welfare of survivors on Thursday claimed the Madhya Pradesh government was planning to shut its department of Bhopal Gas Tragedy Relief and Rehabilitation, a charge denied by a minister.
Several thousand people were killed after toxic gas leaked from a now-defunct Union Carbide factory in the intervening night of December 2 and 3 in 1984.
There is no proposal to shut the department, Vishvas Sarang, minister for BGTRR told PTI.
Rachna Dhingra of the Bhopal Group for Information and Action, one of the outfits working for the welfare of survivors, said, "We recently come across an official document marked confidential that lays out a plan to close down Department of Bhopal Gas Tragedy Relief & Rehabilitation (BGTRR) set up for the welfare of survivors." "The plan is scheduled to be discussed at the state cabinet's next meeting. It proposes handing over five hospitals and nine dispensaries run by the BGTRR to the Departments of Health & Family Welfare and Medical Education," she told reporters.
'Officials trying to escape judicial sanctions'
Nawab Khan, president of Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha, said, "In the last few months the High Court has reprimanded the Department of BGTRR for grave laxity in following the recommendations of the Supreme Court appointed Monitoring Committee for improvements of health care of survivors." Instead of improving computerized registration of patients, treatment protocols and quality of care, officials are attempting such a move to escape judicial sanctions, Khan claimed.
Rashida Bi of Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh, Nasreen Bee of Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Pursh Sangarsh Morcha, Balkrishna Namdev of Bhopal Gas Peedit Nirashrit Pensionbhogi Sangarsh Morcha were present at the press conference.