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Bhopal gas victim group protests against NIREH

India Blooms News Service | | 11 Oct 2014, 05:29 pm
New Delhi, Oct 11 (IBNS) Five organisations working for the welfare of the survivors of the December '84 Union Carbide disaster in Bhopal Saturday demonstrated outside the National Institute for Research on Environmental Health (NIREH) during its 4th foundation day celebrations accusing this 31st center of the Indian council of Medical Research (ICMR) with betrayal of the interests of the survivors.

Rashida Bee of Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationary Karmchari Sangh pointed out, “Despite expenditure of Rs. 8 Crores on renovation of its current building no laboratory at NIREH is in working condition. Only 2 out of 32 equipment purchased have been put to use so far and warranties for all machines have expired.”

Balkrishna Namdeo of Bhopal Gas Peedit Nirashrit Pensionbhogi Sangharsh Morcha said, “Of the 10 research proposals listed, work is going on at NIREH on only one project. 2 other ongoing projects are being carried out by external researchers at their own work places. He further stated, “Of the sanctioned 184 posts only 44 have been filled and these have been filled by those whose work was criticized by international experts in the article published in The Lancet. A full time Director remains to be appointed.”

In violation of ICMR’s ethical code, research on survivors of the gas disaster is being carried out without their informed consent which has led to two of research projects being stopped mid way, said Nawab Khan of Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha. Her further stated that in last 4 years not a single research study has been completed and only 412 survivors of the Bhopal gas disaster.

Serious concerns that have been raised on the educational qualification and quality of staff employed at NIREH. Of the 5 scientists currently in NIREH, 4 have not published a single research paper in international peer reviewed journals in their entire career. 2 scientists have earlier been suspended for working in a private clinic during duty hours. Rachna Dhingra of the Bhopal Group for Information & Action pointed out, “Till today NIREH has not been able to send a reply to the serious criticism of its report published in the prestigious international scientific journal The Lancet in December 2013.”

In addition of the sanctioned 184 posts only 44 have been filled and these have been filled by those whose work was criticized by international experts in the article published in The Lancet. A full time Director remains to be appointed. Of the 6 Clinical Research Wings mentioned on their website http://www.nireh.org/aboutus.asp only one is functioning, that too partially, says Satinath Sarangi of Bhopal Group for Information & Action.

Representatives of the organisations handed a letter to the acting director of NIREH, mentioning all these 9 issues and sought a response.

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