Bhopal survivors blame ICMR of publishing concocted data
Five organizations working for the welfare of the survivors of the Bhopal gas disaster on Friday condemned the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) for not fulfilling its promises of carrying out beneficial medical research on the health condition of the survivors.
The organizations alleged that the technical report on the health condition of the survivors released by the Director General (DG) of ICMR earlier on Friday was based on concocted data and lacked scientific rigour.
The organizations further pointed out that the ICMR set up the National Institute for Research on Environmental Health (NIREH) on Oct 10, 2010 for focused research that would benefit the survivors of the Bhopal disaster.
They said that more than Rs. 20 crores have been spent in the last three years and no research has been started on any of the ten areas identified for research.
In support of their charge that the data in the 1996 - 2010 report released on Friday was concocted, the organizations introduced 10 individuals before the media persons.
These individuals whose health data is supposed to have been collected every six months by the official researchers reported to the media that they have had no interaction ever with any researcher.
According to the organizations, the report released by the DG, ICMR on Friday morning is unscientific as it is based on data from just one fifth of the original study population.
They said that the report is based on information on just 16 symptoms when data had been collected on 40 symptoms found among survivors.
The organizations also presented data published in the annual reports of the Department of Bhopal Gas Tragedy Relief and Rehabilitation, Government of Madhya to show how they were at variance with the data published in the newly released report.
The organizations pointed out that at the foundation day of NIREH on Oct 10, 2010 the DG, ICMR had promised that the institute would carry out research that will improve the treatment available to survivors of the disaster at the gas relief hospitals.
However, except for publication of a manual for management of one kind of lung problem, NIREH has produced no treatment protocols in last three years.
The organizations said that despite clear directions from the P Chidambaram led Group of Ministers on Bhopal the ICMR has failed to keep its promises to the survivors of the Bhopal disaster.
They said the ICMR had added insult to injury by granting legitimacy to a dubious report on the health status of the survivors.
The organizations presented several concerns including the quality and priorities of medical research to the DG, ICMR who has promised to address these concerns without delay.
(Posted on 11-10-2013)