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India Observes 25th Anniversary of Bhopal Gas Leak

Times of India, Posted: Dec 04, 2009

On the 25th anniversary of the Bhopal gas leak, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh promised early clean-up of the Union Carbide site and help for the population. The prime minister said the government would provide clean drinking water and conduct research into the health effects across generations of methyl isocyanate, which leaked from the Carbide plant. But the record belies the prime minister's statements, reports the Times of India. Recent research by Dr. Ganesh of the Cancer Registry in Bhopal has confirmed that genetic changes in gas-affected people lead to increased incidence of cancer, infertility and spontaneous abortions. Most hospitals charge patients for treatment despite a government order mandating all gas victims to be treated free of cost at government hospitals. The New Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment released a report that said the groundwater in areas even 3 km away from the factory site contains almost 40 times more pesticides than normal Indian standards.

Meanwhile, India's environment minister was criticized for picking up a handful of soil in Bhopal and proclaiming, I held the toxic waste in my hand. I am still alive and not coughing. Its 25 years after the gas tragedy. Let us move ahead. He subsequently apologized. Although no official count of casualties has ever been done, estimates based on hospital and rehabilitation records indicate that about 20,000 people died and about 570,000 suffered bodily damage from the gas leak.

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