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Published On:03 November 2011
Posted by Indian Muslim Observer

Bhopal gas tragedy activist’s campaign brings BMHRC under RTI Act ambit

By Pervez Bari

Bhopal: The Central Information Commission (CIC) has brought Bhopal Memorial Hospital and Research Centre, (BMHRC), under the ambit of Right to Information, (RTI), Act.

The Information Commissioner of CIC Shailesh Gandhi hearing on the second appeal on an RTI application moved by Ms Rachna Dhingra, an activist working for the cause of gas victims, came out with the order on October 20 last. Ms Dhingra is associated with Bhopal Group for Information and Action.

The Information Commissioner has also ordered that the BMHRC Director Brig. Dr. K. K. Maudar appoint the Public Information Officer and Appellate Authority by November 5 and provide Ms Dhingra, the appellant, with all the information according to RTI Act by December 5, 2011. The Commissioner directed the Director to appoint the PIO under its powers under Section 19(8)(a) (ii) of the RTI Act.

During the second appeal CIC Commissioner observed in the order that the Commission is in receipt of a letter No BMHRD/RTI/2011/1646 dated 11/10/2011 sent by BMHRC Director Brig. Dr. Maudar in which it has been stated that though the Hospital has been taken over by the Department of Atomic Energy, (DAE), Government of India and a PIO has not been appointed so far.

As such it was the responsibility of the Director to appoint a PIO and the First Appellate Authority immediately. If this is not done then it violates the provisions of the RTI Act and the Commission would hold the Director responsible for the lapse, the Commissioner said in the order..

It may be pointed out here that BMHRC has been refusing to come under the ambit of RTI since July 2010 when it was officially taken over by the DAE. This CIC order will ensure that BMHRC sets up RTI at their institution and entertain all RTI requests relating to their hospital.

The BMHRC management and trustees have been accused of corruption and opening the hospital to private patients and rejecting medical care of gas victims. The hospital top consultants and management has also been involved in unethical and illegal drug trials which has killed more than 13 gas victims from 2004-2008. The RTI will help expose all those involved in scams like converting non-gas victims to gas victims, illegal drug trials and mismanagement of the hospital.

"This has been a long 9 month battle to get information under RTI from BMHRC. Even though BMHRC continued to deny to come the purview of RTI Act, the CIC has vindicated our stand", Ms Dhingra said triumphantly.

It may be mentioned here that BMHRC is a 350-bedded multi-specialty tertiary care centre situated at Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, which is the centre / heart of India. This institute was started as per the directive of the Supreme Court of India to provide advanced tertiary level super-specialty care to the victims of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy (1984) as well as to extend its services to the public at large. The hospital is a referral and tertiary care centre for the thousands of gas tragedy victims who are first seen at the primary care level in the 8 mini units (satellite health centers) spread around in the city, and then referred to the advanced and specialized departments at the hospital.

It may be recalled here that 40 tones of methyl isocyanate, (MIC – a highly volatile toxic chemical), gas accidently spewed out from the pesticide plant – owned by Union Carbide India Limited, (UCIL), a subsidiary of Union Carbide Corporation (UCC), USA – on the intervening night of December 2-3, 1984. The gas leak killed 3,000 people instantly and more than 25,000 over the years and inflicting grievous injuries on countless others. Many were deformed for life and many children born with the toxic effect are sick and with congenital malformations. It also affected 100,000 people that night and estimates are that more than 500,000 continue to suffer till date.

[Pervez Bari is a Journalist based at Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. He is associated with IndianMuslimObserver.com as Bureau Chief (Madhya Pradesh). He can be contacted at pervezbari@eth.net]

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Posted by Indian Muslim Observer on November 03, 2011. Filed under , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Feel free to leave a response

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