ndsharma's blog

Bhopal ‘gas widows’ live here

Posted on: October 25, 2012

These photographs show the conditions at the Bhopal ‘Gas Widows’ Colony’ over two year after chief minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan declared to transform the face of the colony so that its inmates could live a decent life. The colony to rehabilitate the widows of gas leak victims was developed at Karond village, completely out of the city, by the Madhya  Pradesh Housing Board in the early nineties out of the funds provided by the Centre. Some of the inmates had lost all male members of the family and were unable to undertake any job because of the illness or old age.

Chauhan, it seems, became aware of the colony only after the June 7, 2010 verdict of the Bhopal CJM (sentencing and then immediately bailing out the Indian officials of Union Carbide) and had for some time made pretty loud noises showing his concern about the plight of the victims, particularly the widows. He announced his determination to ameliorate the living conditions of these widows.

In the Assembly on June 26, he even listed some of the things for these hapless women and their children: their difficulty in procuring ration cards would be removed, their small dwellings (now in a dilapidated condition for want of care) would be exempted from “property tax” (yes, “property tax”) and also from water tax (which may wrongly suggest that they get regular drinking water supply in the colony), their houses would be renovated and they would be provided all the civic amenities. He also announced a monthly pension of Rs 500 to the “gas widows”.

The houses still are dilapidated, there is no sewerage system, and drinking water supply is irregular as is electricity supply (though the residents continue to get exorbitant electricity bills) and the medical facilities there are non-existent. The monthly pension of Rs 500 promised by the chief minister is out of the funds sanctioned by the Centre.

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Value of propaganda

Adolf Hitler believed in the use of propaganda as an integral element to seizing and holding on to political power. His maxim was 'the bigger the lie, the more easily it will be believed, provided it is repeated vigorously and often enough'. (Sean Murphy in his book 'Letting the Side Down')

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