Corruption hits action plan for Bhopal victims

NGOs allege purchase of equipment that don't exist


Danish Raza | April 23, 2010

A Madhya Pradesh government's action plan for the medical rehabilitation of the victims of Bhopal gas tragedy seems to have been turned into money-spinning venture by corrupt officials, NGOs allege.

“While the Supreme Court monitoring committee recommended increasing the number of doctors and development of effective treatment protocols, the
action plan does not address any of these issues. Instead 95 percent 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.
Representatives of the NGOs used the Right to Information Act to obtain the action plan that the state government submitted to the Centre.

According to the activists, the action plan includes the purchase of equipment that are neither needed nor available in the market.  “We have it from the most authoritative sources that the equipment mentioned in the plan do not exist,” said Rachna Dhingra of Bhopal Group for Information and Action.
“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” she added.
Another allegation is that the state government has failed to provide clean water to the people living near the factory even four years after allocation of central funds. The result is that more than 20, 000 people have been compelled to drink poisoned ground water.
More than 16,000 people had died in the gas disaster in Bhopal in 1984.



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