More than five months after chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan promised that he would personally visit hospitals and facilities to check the issues related to medical and economic rehabilitation of Bhopal gas tragedy survivors, there has been no action yet on this count.
On occasion of the 30th anniversary of the gas tragedy on December 3, 2014, a delegation of activists representing and supporting the gas tragedy survivors had met the chief minister.
"We had told the chief minister that there were issues like lack of proper equipment, quality of the drugs distributed, vacant posts of medical and paramedical staff and overall lackadaisical functioning in the hospitals run by the state gas relief and rehabilitation department and he (CM) promised personal visit to check the matter," Abdul Jabbar, convener of Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Udyog Sangathan, who had led the delegation to CM, told HT.
Jabbar said the CM was also told about the unused work sheds (for tragedy survivors) in Govindpura area, unfulfilled promise of employment to 10,000 survivors and misuse of the `104 crore funds for economic rehabilitation. On this issue too, the CM promised personal intervention.
“However, the problems that we put before the CM continue unabated and despite a reminder in month of March, there has been no response from his side yet," Jabbar said.
Other activists who met the CM included political scientist Prof Haragopal, Medha Patkar of Narmada Bachao Andolan, Jhanaklal Thakur of Chhattisgarh Mukti Morcha and Anil Sadgopal of Shiksha Adhikar Manch.
When contacted, principal secretary to chief minister SK Mishra (in charge of gas tragedy related affairs) said personal inspection of the hospitals was on agenda of the CM and would be fulfilled soon.
GOVT FAILS TO PROVIDE RECORDS
The state government has also failed to provide patients related records of the gas relief hospitals in state as sought by the Union ministry of chemicals and fertilisers in December last year despite repeated communications.
Following a fast-unto-death agitation launch by representatives of five gas survivors’ organisations in New Delhi in November 2014 demanding revision of figures of death and injuries related to the gas tragedy on basis of medical records available, the ministry had started a process.
It wrote to the state government seeking the records so that the figures could be checked
The gas survivors’ organisations are claiming that actual figures of death and injuries are quite higher than that presented in a Supreme Court revision petition by the Union government.
"But there has been no response from the state government yet," Rachna Dhingra of Bhopal Group of Information and Action, who was part of the agitation, said.
She added that the reticence of the state government was more surprising because in year 2011, the chief minister himself had written to the then prime minister on the need of revising the figures of death and injuries.
Principal secretary of gas relief and rehabilitation department Gauri Singh (who got the posting recently) said if the central government had asked for the details, it would have to be provided.