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Archive for March, 2008

Bhopal Survivors Arrive on Foot to Remind PM of Unkept Promises

28 MARCH, 2008. NEW DELHI – Marking two years since their last padayatra from Bhopal to Delhi, 50 people, including survivors of the 1984 gas tragedy, their children, people exposed to contaminated drinking water and their supporters, today concluded their second 800 km march by walking from Nizamuddin park to Jantar Mantar. “We were forced to undertake this grueling walk because the PM failed to keep his word. This time, we are not going back until we get a public declaration from him that he will deliver on his promise,” said Hazra Bee, a survivor and one of the padayatris.

The PMO has rejected a request for an appointment with the PM, and two further requests have not elicited a reply. However, international support for the survivors is pouring in. More than 1300 faxes from 18 countries have already reached the PMO, prompting officials there to threaten survivors with legal action. Yesterday, members of the Scottish parliament marched to the Indian High Commission in Edinburgh, even as other Bhopal supporters in London went to the High Commission there to submit a memorandum urging the Prime Minister to meet the Bhopalis’ demands.

On April 16, 2006, the Prime Minister ended a 21day strike, including a 6-day hunger strike by the Bhopalis, by promising to meet the demands of the survivors. The survivors had demanded an empowered Commission to implement social, medical and economic rehabilitation schemes for survivors and their children, in addition to cleaning up Union Carbide’s toxic wastes, providing clean water to water-affected communities, and taking legal action against Dow Chemical and Union Carbide. However, the PM suggested a Coordinating Committee to oversee implementation of rehabilitation schemes and environmental remediation.

Over the last two years, the Coordination Committee has had three meetings and accomplished nothing. More than 25,000 people continue to consume poison-tainted groundwater in the absence of reliable and good quality water supply. More than 5000 tons of toxic wastes remain buried and spread in and around the factory site, and no efforts have been taken to contain them or export them to the US for final disposal. No rehabilitation schemes have been implemented.

Government inaction on rehabilitation and environmental remediation has placed Bhopalis at the receiving end of two disasters – the 1984 gas leak and the ongoing water contamination — both with pronounced effects on children and future generations. Despite a 1991 Supreme Court order directing the Government to extend insurance benefits to 100,000 gas-affected children, not one child has been covered, leading to a spurt in destitution among families with sick children. In contamination-affected communities, congenital deformities among newborns is a rising trend.

The future generations are in danger. That, say Bhopal survivors, is why any Commission that is set up has to execute its schemes over at least 30 years. The Bhopalis estimate that the Government needs to invest in a corpus of Rs. 2000 crore to provide an annual budget of Rs. 100 crores for the Commission throughout its term.

In contrast to the inaction on Bhopal, the Government has, in the last two years, openly advanced the cause of Dow Chemical and Union Carbide. Information unearthed from the PMO through RTI indicates that ambassador Ronen Sen, Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Ratan Tata, P. Chidambaram and Kamalnath have all written letters supporting Dow Chemical. In response, the Cabinet Secretary has suggested exonerating Dow Chemical keeping in mind the scope of investments by Dow and other US companies in India.

In less than a decade, Dow Chemical has chalked up an impressive list of violations of law and due process. In February 2007, Dow caught for paying more than Rs. 80 lakhs in bribes to Indian agriculture ministry officials to register three toxic pesticides. In 2005, Indian Oil revoked a technology deal with Dow after it found out that Dow was trying to sell Union Carbide’s technology by lying that it was its own. Recently, Dow has managed to convince Government of India to approve the sale of Union Carbide’s technology to Reliance Industries despite the fact that a 1992 court order directs the Government to confiscate all Union Carbide’s assets in India.

“This is a repeat of the betrayal of 1989 where the Government colluded with Union Carbide to shortchange the people of Bhopal on the compensation settlement,” said Satinath Sarangi, another padayatri and a long-time Bhopal activist from Bhopal Group for Information and Action. “23,000 people have died, and the collusion still continues. We’re determined to break this corporate-Government nexus that plays havoc with people’s lives.”

For more information, contact:

Nityanand Jayaraman. 9717516003.

International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal

B5/136, Sadurjung Enclave, New Delhi-29

For the PMO files (Right to Information), visit: www.bhopal.net/pmo.html

For PMO files in Hindi, visit: http://www.bhopal.net/Hindi%20PDF.pdf

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Students Against Nuclear Power (SANP) Hunger Strike Ends

Students Against Nuclear Power (SANP) from Kojhikode (Kerala) staged a inspiring 8 day indefinite Hunger Strike at Jantar Mantar in Delhi since 10th March 2008. Students were demanding that the Government of India must not sign the Indo-US Nuclear deal, because of the harmful effects it bears not only for the present generation, but also for the future generations. On 17th March they ended up their indefinite hunger strike after getting assurance by CPI leader and MP (Rajya Sabha) D Raja to raise their concern outside and inside parliament. D Raja also expreesed his opposition on the nuclear deal and explained the current situation of dialogue between the UPA Government and the Left parties.

On the first day Susan George, the author of more than a dozen books, and Chair of the Planning Board of the Transnational Institute (Amsterdam) delivered the inaugural speech in support of the hunger strike on 10th March. Praful Bidwai, Anil Chaudhary, Wilfred D’Costa, Sandeep Pandey and Achin Vanaik were also present there and expressed their view in solidarity. Eminent writer Arundhati Roy also visited and backed the anti-nuclear students and said that she was “absolutely against the proposed nuclear deal and (this) protest was “an admirable and moral move by a group of students.”

People from different walks declared support to the struggle by the students and visited the struggle at Jantar Mantar. Members of Parliament including: Panyan Raveendran, P Karunakaran, CK Chandrappan, PP Koya (Lakhshwadeep) & PC Thomas visited the struggle and expressed their solidarity and agreed to raise the issue with the Prime Minster and President of India. Several people including Medha Patkar, Kalpana Mehta, Swami Agnivesh, JNUSU president Sandeep, Radhika Menon, Manisha Sethi, Bhupendra Rawat, Gabriela, Celia and several other people’s movement leaders and visionaries also turned up and declared support. People’s Movements and Solidarity Organisations including CNDP, Sangharsh, National Alliance of People’s Movements, Delhi Solidarity Group, Asha parivar, Indian Social Action Forum, PEACE, FDI, YUVA, AID, etc declared support to the students’ struggle. Students from Delhi University, Jawaharlal University, Jamiad Milia University, etc also visited the struggle and declared solidarity.

Five out of the thirteen students were Saji Mathew, Ramzia Rehmat, Abdu Rahman, Divya K and Tommy Jacob. The others who accompanied them from kerala to/at Jantar Mantar were: Shobhraj TP, Sabina M, Kripa Varrier, Nirmal P C, Subeesh T, Jiji E, Aswathy TP and Ranjit K.

Students from SANP, Kerala could be contacted at sanpindia@gmail.com

 

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STUDENTS AGAINST NUCLEAR POWER

Kozhikode, Kerala

Camp: Jantar Mantar, New Delhi

Contacts: 09990166975 / 9868019509

 

Invitation for the Press

 

To March 15, 2008

 

The Editor/ Bureau Chief/ Chief Reporter

New Delhi

Date: 15th March 2008

Time: 3.00 PM

Venue: Jantar Mantar, New Delhi

Students from Calicut (Kerala) under the banner of Students Against Nuclear Power (SANP) have been on indefinite hunger strike since March 10, 2008. On 14th March three students were taken ill and have been hospitalized. To express their concern a press conference is being organized by the students. Eminent Journalist Praful Bidwai and other social activists will address the press conference.

Please send your reporter/cameraman to cover the issue being highlighted.

Thanks,

 

SANP

 

With solidarity

of NAPM, Asha Parivar, Delhi Forum, INSAF, PEACE, Delhi Solidarity Group

 

 

If any query please contact:

Ranjit @ 9990166975

Vijayan MJ @ 9868165471

Shree Prakash @ 9871880686

 

 

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STUDENTS AGAINST NUCLEAR POWER

Kozhikode, Kerala

Camp: Jantar Mantar, New Delhi

Contacts: 09990166975 / 9868019509

PRESS RELEASE 14 march 2008

Students Against Nuclear Power (SANP) are on the 5th day of the Hunger Strike. The students are demanding that the Government of India must not sign the Indo-US Nuclear deal, because of the harmful effects it bears not only for the present generation, but also for the future generations.

People from different walks have already declared support to the struggle by the students and are visiting the struggle at Jantar Mantar. Members of Parliament including:

Panyan Raveendran,

P Karunakaran,

CK Chandrappan,

PP Koya (Lakhshwadeep) &

PC Thomas visited the struggle and expressed their solidarity and agreed to raise the issue with the Prime Minster and President of India.

Students from Delhi University, Jawaharlal University, Jamiad Milia University, etc visited the struggle and declared solidarity.

Five out of the thirteen students who are in Delhi from Kozhikode district of Kerala are on Hunger Strike against the Nuclear Deal and India opting for Nuclear Power @ Jantar Mantar, in front of Indian Parliament. The strikers are braving hunger, unfamiliar territory, hostile climatic conditions and neglect from the local police and government/s. The five on Hunger Strike are: Saji Mathew, Ramzia Rehmat, Abdu Rahman, Divya K and Tommy Jacob. The others who are here with them are: Shobhraj TP, Sabina M, Kripa Varrier, Nirmal P C, Subeesh T, Jiji E, Aswathy TP and Ranjit K.

Several people including Sandeep Pandey, Medha Patkar, Bhupendra Rawat, Gabriela, Celia and several other people’s movement leaders and visionaries also turned up and declared support. People’s Movements and Solidarity Organisations including Sangharsh, National Alliance of People’s Movements, Delhi Solidarity Group, Asha parivar, Indian Social Action Forum, etc declared support to the students’ struggle.

Shobhraj PK

On Behalf of SANP

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