Bhopal gas victims oppose disposal of waste in Nagpur

NAGPUR: The opposition to disposal of Bhopal toxic waste at DRDO facility near Butibori gained support from unexpected quarters on Saturday. One of the prominent persons who led the campaign to remove the waste from the factory site – Satinath Sarangi – announced at a press conference that the gas victims would not allow any other city in India to become a second Bhopal.

BJP MLA Devendra Fadnavis, media house owner Prakash Pohare and Vidarbha Industries Association (VIA) also announced their opposition to the move at the press meet. Hingna MLA Vijay Ghodmare has also announced that he would not allow the toxic material to enter his constituency. Vidarbha Environmental Action Group (VEAG) has already registered its protest. The opponents declared that all measures would be adopted.

Sarangi, who had come to Nagpur with some of the victims, said that the waste at Union Carbide factory was extremely toxic and had polluted the groundwater near the factory site. “It has caused congenital deformities in children, brain ailments and was affecting liver, kidney and skin,” he said.

The activist said that the union government had tried to dispose of the waste at incinerators at Ankleshwar and Indore but had been unsuccessful. “Now they have chosen a DRDO facility because they know that as it comes under Ministry of Defence, you can’t get any information under RTI,” he alleged.

He charged three union ministers with trying to provide relief to Dow Chemicals, the successor of Union Carbide. “We want that Dow should transport this waste to US, which has facilities to dispose of this waste. However, this would cost Dow millions. So, our government is paying for it.” Sarangi said.

He said that there was a precedent for making the manufacturer dispose of the waste in its own country. “In 2003, Tamil Nadu pollution control board had forced a US company to take back 230 ton mercury from its Kodaikanal plant,” he said.

National Environmental Engineering and Research Institute (Neeri) drew flak from Sarangi and VEAG members. “Neeri has always diluted the toxicity content in its report. It had stated in a report that the 346 toxic leftover should be buried at the plant site as it was harmless. However, 21 experts from various reputed institutions in the country gave a contradictory report and Neeri’s opinion was not considered.”

VEAG activists Swananand Soni, R B Goenka, Sudhir Paliwal, P S Ahuja, Seema Sahu, Om Jajodia and others appealed to Nagpurians to join the movement.

Source: The Times of India

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