Serving the symptom

  • 14/12/2003

Serving the symptom As the Bhopal tragedy enters its twentieth year, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has identified the country's newest disease: the Bhopal Gas Disease. Down To Earth has exclusive access to an unpublished ICMR document which defines the disease as "a condition of ill-health due to exposure to Bhopal's toxic gases.' About half a million people in Bhopal suffer from this disease, which has forty symptoms ranging from low backache to breathing difficulties. The treatment has merely served the symptoms. This is all ICMR has to show out of 10 years of research on 84,000 victims. After spending a further nine years in reviewing its work, ICMR has not published it.

Any research?
"The exact causative agent of the Bhopal Toxic Gas Disease is unknown,' says the unpublished ICMR document. How come? For one, the Union Carbide has used trade secrecy as a prerogative to withhold information on the exact composition of the leaked gases. This played a big part in styming research. Secondly, the ex- CSIR director Vardarajan committee report submitted after analysing the residues of tank 610 of UCIL remains the only guideline for research. The report

Related Content