Bhopal- In a significant development, Victims of Bhopal gas tragedy suffering from cancer will now receive free treatment at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Bhopal. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed between the state government's Bhopal Gas Relief and Rehabilitation Department and AIIMS Bhopal, marking a crucial step towards providing healthcare support. The majority of residents in the gas-affected areas, stemming from the tragic Bhopal gas incident, belong to Muslim and Dalit communities.
Responding to the directives of the Madhya Pradesh High Court, the Gas Relief Department has undertaken this initiative to ensure free treatment for gas victims suffering from cancer at AIIMS Bhopal. The court had instructed the department to present its response in the upcoming hearing scheduled for January 24. In alignment with these directives, the Gas Relief Department has formalized the collaboration with AIIMS through the signed MoU. Additionally, gas-affected organizations have urged the Bhopal Memorial Hospital and Research Centre (BMHRC) management to expedite the establishment of a dedicated cancer department within the hospital.
It is worth noting that in 2021, the Jabalpur High Court had issued instructions to the government to promptly facilitate the treatment of gas-affected cancer patients at AIIMS. Prior to this development, these patients were receiving treatment at the private hospital, Chirayu. Sapna Chaurasia, a recent petitioner and a gas victim suffering from cancer, had approached the High Court, highlighting the challenges in accessing treatment despite the government's allocated funds. Following these developments, the court sought detailed information on the ground realities, leading to the MoU between the state government and AIIMS Bhopal. This collaboration is expected to streamline cancer treatment for the affected individuals who have long awaited quality healthcare. The gas-affected regions in Bhopal, grappling with groundwater pollution, necessitate improved medical facilities and specialized care.
The number of cancer patients, particularly in the gas-affected regions of Bhopal, has been on the rise. Presently, an estimated 600 patients are grappling with serious illnesses such as cancer. The region's contaminated groundwater, attributed to the persistent dumping of Union Carbide's toxic waste, has raised concerns among experts. The deteriorating water quality, laden with chemical pollutants, poses severe health risks, including cancer and kidney diseases.
Shamsad B, a 40-year-old resident of Nawab Colony, has been suffering from cancer for 25 years due to consuming water from tube wells contaminated by Union Carbide's hazardous waste. Despite her prolonged exposure, Shamsad only realized the toxicity of the water later. Subsequently, she faced deteriorating health, experiencing chest pain and discomfort. Medical examinations revealed breast cancer, leading to a year-long treatment process, including surgery to remove the cancerous tissue.
Rachna Dhingra, the coordinator of Bhopal Group for Information and Action, an organization working for the gas-affected victims, emphasized the long-standing demand for cancer treatment for gas-affected individuals. The recent collaboration between AIIMS and the Gas Relief Department is expected to bring relief to the affected individuals who have awaited quality healthcare. The gas-affected and groundwater-polluted regions of Bhopal have witnessed a surge in cancer cases, necessitating improved medical facilities and care.
A detailed analysis of water sample revealed presence of chemical organochlorine in the groundwater of 42 colonies around the Union Carbide plant. This chemical poses a threat of cancer, congenital deformities, neurological issues, and kidney diseases, along with resistance to various diseases. The accumulation of toxic waste from the Union Carbide factory for years without proper disposal is causing this situation. Other colonies are also being affected by the contamination