November 8, 2009 5:08:13 am
Twenrty-five years after the worlds worst industrial disaster shook Bhopal,the locked Union Carbide plant will be thrown open to the public for a week.
We will put up an exhibition highlighting the work done by the government and throw open the doors to the public for a week, Minister for Gas Tragedy (Relief and Rehabilitation) Babulal Gaur told The Sunday Express.
Except for investigators,government officials,NGOs and journalists,and thieves lured by its iron and steel,the plant has remained closed to the public after December 2,1984,when a gas leak in the pesticide plant left behind a deadly trail.
The government hopes that allowing people to visit the site would satisfy their curiosity and remove misconceptions that things at the plant have been kept under wraps, said former chief minister Gaur.
I have visited the site numerous times and handled the waste on several occasions. Theres nothing to worry, he added. Incidentally,a similar remark by Union Environment and Forests Minister Jairam Ramesh during his recent visit to Bhopal had created a furore prompting him to apologise to NGOs and victims.
But Gaur maintained he saw nothing wrong in allowing people to visit the site. In any case,birds and animals are breathing the same air without coming to harm. Moreover,people live in the close vicinity of the plant, he said.
Not everybody is pleased with the idea though. Says Convenor of Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Udyog Sangathan Abdul Jabbar,Jaise jannat ke darwaze khol rahein hai (As if they are opening doors to heaven). They should at least ensure people dont go near MIC Tank No E 610,from where the gas leaked.
Over the years NGOs have been warning that the chemicals buried in the 67-acre plant were poisoning the air and water around the campus.
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