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No public tour of killer Bhopal gas plant.

THE GATES of the Union Carbide Factory will not be opened on the 25th anniversary of the Bhopal gas tragedy.

The Madhya Pradesh government has reversed its earlier decision to allow the public into the plant to mark the day in the face of criticism from organisations working for the victims of the tragedy.

They flayed the decision to throw open the plant's gates to the public calling it a publicity stunt and alleged the government wanted to convince the people that nothing hazardous lay inside the factory. The move also violated court orders, they said.

The government has now decided to leave it to the court to decide whether to open the premises of the Union Carbide factory, from where Methly Isocynate ( MIC) and other chemicals released accidentally killing over 3,000 people and affecting 5 lakh people on the intervening night of December 2- 3 in 1984.

" We have moved an application before the Jabalpur High Court. We had earlier announced to open the gates for the general public on the basis of toxicity tests conducted by the Defence Research & Development Establishement, Gwalior. The report concluded that all the samples such as excavated waste- lime sludge, naphthol tar, reactor residue, semi- processed pesticide and sevin tar were found to be having very low mammalian toxicity," said Bhopal gas tragedy relief and rehabilitation minister Babulal Gaur.

By opening the gates, the state government wanted people and journalists from India and abroad to know the government was hiding nothing from them. It had taken special measures to tell visitors about a room where chemical waste has been lying dumped for the last 25 years.

" If Americans can allow visitors to Ground Zero and Japan can allow people to visit Hiroshima, why can't we open the gates of the Union Carbide factory for the general public?" Gaur asked.

The government's decision not to open the factory gates is seen as a victory for various organisations. " Instead, the government should think about improving medical facilities and equipment in the especially designed hospitals for the victims," Abdul Jabbar, convenor of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Udyog Sangathan, said.

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Date:Nov 21, 2009
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