Bhopal victims condemn PRC recommendations

Bhopal, May 25 (IBNS): Leaders of five organisations of the survivors of the 1984 Union Carbide disaster in Bhopal on Wednesday condemned the recommendations of the government appointed Peer Review Committee (PRC) on remediation of toxic contamination in and around the abandoned Union Carbide factory.

In a letter submitted to the Chairman of the Oversight Committee on Bhopal Environmental Rehabilitation, Jairam Ramesh, the organisations charged that the recommendations of the Peer Review Committee (PRC) were unscientific, unilaterally decided and were designed to help Dow Chemical get away from its Bhopal liabilities by paying a pittance for environmental remediation.

Goldman Environmental prize winner, Rashida Bee of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Stationery Karmchari Sangh, who took part in the meeting organised by the Oversight Committee on Wednesday, said that two of the members of the PRC have direct links with Dow Chemical Company, USA that, as 100 percent owner of Union Carbide, USA, is legally liable for the toxic contamination in and around the Union Carbide factory in Bhopal.

She pointed out that the Mumbai-based Institute of Chemical Technology, whose director Prof. G D Yadav is a PRC member, has jointly instituted an award with Dow Chemical since 2009.

Similarly, another member of the PRC, Rama Rao is a member of the advisory board of InnoCentive Corporation of which Dow Chemical is a member.

A third member of the PRC, Arbinda Mitra works with the NGO, India US Science & Technology Forum, that was set up with 7 million USD from the US government, Rashida Bee said.

Satinath Sarangi, of the Bhopal Group for Information and Action, said that majority of the seven-member PRC have a long association with the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) and the Council for Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR).

She said that the bias of the PRC is evident by its deliberate disregard and out of hand dismissal of adverse comments by experts from the Indian Institutes of Technology in Mumbai, Chennai, Kharagpur, Delhi and Kanpur on the environmental assessment report by NEERI and other CSIR agencies.

According to Balkrishna Namdeo, President of the Bhopal Gas Pedit Nirashrit Pension Bhogi Sangharsh Morcha, seven Bhopal survivors organisations had presented a scientific review of the NEERI report by waste management experts from The Netherlands, Australia and the UK but the comments of these experts have been dismissed out of hand by the PRC.

He said that the PRC has run roughshod over critical opinions of the Centre for Science and Environment, New Delhi, Hazards Centre, New Delhi, Greenpeace International and other non-governmental agencies.

Calling for the immediate scrapping of the PRC’s recommendations and reconstitution of the Committee to ensure that there were no members with conflict of interest, Nawab Khan of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha, stated that the survivors of the Bhopal disaster will not allow the implementation of the recommendations of the PRC at any cost.

He said that thousands of victims of Union Carbide will physically stop the transportation of hazardous waste till they are satisfied that they will be safely disposed off.

He warned that any move to dismantle the factory structure will face the wrath of the victims who insist that the structure is conserved as a memorial to the world’s worst industrial disaster.

Source: India Blooms News Service

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We believe Dow must finally accept responsibility for Bhopal. Until then, The Bhopal Medical Appeal funds two award-winning clinics in the city. Both offer free, first-class care to victims of the gas disaster or the ongoing water contamination. The survivors have nowhere else left to turn – please help if you can.