#India- Nuclear radiation impact being ignored? #disability #healthcare


Date: 24 March 2013
Dilnaaz Boga, March 24, 2013 , DNA

On his recent visit to Mumbai, Nobel Laureate Dr John Byrne, Director of the Center for Energy and Environmental Policy, said that every society has to make a basic decision as far as use of nuclear power technology went.

“US has not ordered a nuclear plant in 35 years. There has been a record of incidents all over the world unanticipated by engineers and scientists and that is why so many countries have had to rethink the viability of nuclear technology.”

But some Indian scientists feel otherwise, despite the fact that the ‘Interim Report on Tarapur’ has found indicators which show radiation-related problem among employees of Tarapur Atomic Power Station (TAPS) and villages close to it. The World Nuclear Association expects India’s nuclear capacity to grow fourfold from its present capacity of 5,000 MW to 20,000 megawatts by 2020, making it the third-biggest market after China and Russia.

Health impact of radiation

Public health care centres’ doctors, locals, physicians in the vicinity and the medical supervisor were interviewed by scientist Dr V Pugazhenthi from Tamil Nadu, who is renowned for this credible studies on the health impact of radiation around the Kalpakkam nuclear site. He is also one of the members of people’s expert committee in the ongoing anti-nuclear movement in Koodankulam.

Cancer, goitre, infertility, mental retardation common

“I found 100 cases of cancer in 2010 among TAPS employees. Local physicians said that incidents of cancer have been on the rise in the area in the last few years, particularly hepatoma, ovarian cancer, bone cancer, breast cancer and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. But there has been no intervention for the victims,” he added.

Cancer victims fear being ostracised so that they don’t tell anyone about it, he added.

“We are trying to decrease the exposure among workers at the plant,” said MoS Rajendra Gavit to DNA.

“Technologically, this system is out of sync, and it is economically less competitive if you switch to other energy sources,” Byrne explained.

Director Rajan Badwe of Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai, where patients from Tarapur and its surrounding villages are directed told DNA, “Cancer cases are not on the rise. If at all if there is any rise, it’s a small one and it is similar to any other area.”

Goitre cases have also been found in the surrounding villages, local physicians corroborated in the report. “A casual walk through the villages helped me identify 15-20 Goitre cases. TAPS doctors had carried a survey on thyroid problems by the medical superintendent denied it,” said Dr VPugazhenthi, who had conducted a survey in Chinchani village, 8km from the plant.

Back then, 40 cases of infertility were reported by a local doctor in the survey. “Spontaneous abortions, still births, hormonal imbalances in women in the form of excessive bleeding, decreased birth weight and birth defects on the rise,” elaborated Dr V Pugazhenthi.

RK Gupta, who worked for BARC for over 30 years in the fuel reprocessing division in the plutonium plant has been exposed to radiation, said, “Exposures are a regular affair. Workers have died of skin diseases and cancer. Despite this, international rules for workers are not fully implemented. There is a silence about this as people compromise because of their economic condition. Even contaminated tools that are stolen and scarp metal slow poison people. Just like people get poisoned from fish exposed to radiation very far from the site.”

Cases of mental retardation, including Down’s Syndrome, autoimmune arthritis, particularly rheumatoid arthritis, were found in villagers along with high instances of cataract and myopia at a young age.

No new health study has been commissioned in the area.

 

Bhopal victims stage own “Olympics” to protest Dows sponsorship #mustshare


Bhopal victims stage own ‘Olympics’ to protest Dow sponsorhip

Published: 26 July, 2012, 23:45

Indian spectators watch disabled children suffering the effects of the 1984 Bhopal disaster in India take part in a "Special Olympics" in Bhopal on July 26, 2012 (AFP Photo / Prakash Singh)

Indian spectators watch disabled children suffering the effects of the 1984 Bhopal disaster in India take part in a “Special Olympics” in Bhopal on July 26, 2012 (AFP Photo / Prakash Singh)

TAGS: Children, Health, Olympics, UK, Protest, India, London2012

Survivors of the 1984 Bhopal disaster, one of the world’s worst-ever industrial catastrophes, have held their own Games to protest against the London Olympics being sponsored by Dow Chemical.

­Dozens of kids aged five to 16 have participated in 10 sports in Bhopal during the ‘Special Olympics’. The move was aimed against the company which has a contract with the IOC until 2020 and, in particular, is a sponsor of London Olympics.

“We have been protesting against Dow’s sponsorship for a year now, we want them to be dropped,” organizers’ spokeswoman Rachna Dhingra told Reuters. “But we have realized this is not going to happen.”

Some 25,000 residents of Bhopal died in the aftermath of a massive gas leak in a pesticide factory owned by Union Carbide, an American company purchased by Dow Chemical in 2001.

Dow, however, has done little to improve the situation in the disaster-stricken zone. According to activists’ estimates, 500,000 people are still suffering from illnesses developed after the tragedy, including cancer, blindness and various birth defects.

The company has repeatedly denied any involvement in the tragedy and refuses to add to the $470- million compensation paid out in 1989.

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An Indian mother of a disabled child suffering the effects of the 1984 Bhopal disaster, cries during a "Special Olympics" in Bhopal on July 26, 2012 (AFP Photo / Prakash Singh)
An Indian mother of a disabled child suffering the effects of the 1984 Bhopal disaster, cries during a “Special Olympics” in Bhopal on July 26, 2012 (AFP Photo / Prakash Singh)

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Indian spectators watch as disabled children suffering the effects of the 1984 Bhopal disaster take part in a "Special Olympics" (AFP Photo / Prakash Singh)
Indian spectators watch as disabled children suffering the effects of the 1984 Bhopal disaster take part in a “Special Olympics” (AFP Photo / Prakash Singh)

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Manan, a disabled child suffering the effects of the 1984 Bhopal disaster, smiles as he reaches finish line in 25 meter walk with a walker event (AFP Photo / Prakash Singh)
Manan, a disabled child suffering the effects of the 1984 Bhopal disaster, smiles as he reaches finish line in 25 meter walk with a walker event (AFP Photo / Prakash Singh)

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Disabled Indian children get ready to participate in a 25 meter assisted walking event (AFP Photo / Prakash Singh)
Disabled Indian children get ready to participate in a 25 meter assisted walking event (AFP Photo / Prakash Singh)

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Disabled Indian children get ready to participate in a 25 meter sprint (AFP Photo / Prakash Singh)
Disabled Indian children get ready to participate in a 25 meter sprint (AFP Photo / Prakash Singh)

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Zehra, a five year old disabled child shows her gold medal she won in crab walking event (AFP Photo / Prakash Singh)
Zehra, a five year old disabled child shows her gold medal she won in crab walking event (AFP Photo / Prakash Singh)

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An Indian disabled child suffering from the effects of the 1984 Bhopal disaster, reacts in discomfort while watching a play during a "Special Olympics" in Bhopal (AFP Photo / Prakash Singh)
An Indian disabled child suffering from the effects of the 1984 Bhopal disaster, reacts in discomfort while watching a play during a “Special Olympics” in Bhopal (AFP Photo / Prakash Singh)

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AFP Photo / Prakash Singh
AFP Photo / Prakash Singh

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AFP Photo / Prakash Singh
AFP Photo / Prakash Singh

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Indian artists recreate a scene from the 1984 Bhopal gas leak disaster (AFP Photo / Prakash Singh)
Indian artists recreate a scene from the 1984 Bhopal gas leak disaster (AFP Photo / Prakash Singh)

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AFP Photo / Prakash Singh
AFP Photo / Prakash Singh

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AFP Photo / Prakash Singh
AFP Photo / Prakash Singh

Woman who helped 9-yr-old mentally challenged girl testify against her rapist, recounts the challenges she faced


Bapu Deedwania and Sunil Baghel 

June 03, 2012

MUMBAI : When the Mahad police, first landed at her home with their request, Poornima Khade hesitated. The headmistress of a school for special children in the area, had no delusions that the job – helping a 9-year-old girl with Down’s Syndrome tell the court that she had been raped – would be easy.

Over seven years later, as the Bombay High Court upheld a local court’s order convicting the accused, Khade, now 36, is glad that she agreed. “I feel that whatever I have learnt has been of some use and has got this child justice.”

In December 2005, the victim had conveyed to her family that her neighbour Niranjan Jadhav, in their Managaon home (Raigad district), had raped her. The victim suffers from speech and hearing disability and, while Jadhav (then 53 year old) was arrested immediately, medical reports did not confirm rape.

That’s where Khade came in. The police wanted her to work with them and use her expertise with mentally challenged children to decipher what the victim said for the court.

“Our Suyog Special School for Mentally Deficient Children was the only such school at Mangaon,” said Khade, who holds a Diploma of Special Education in Mental Retardation.

‘I had to seek my mom’s help to deal with the case’

Experience had taught Khade that such children would not easily accept a stranger into their zone of comfort. “I was afraid that this would go against her in court.”

The police were helpful, she added. “But, they were finding it difficult to understand what she was saying and the accused said the girl was lying. The PSI handling the case told me that we had to ensure that the girl got justice.”

Trial began at the Alibaug Sessions Court on June 6, 2006. Khade, who was in Mumbai for training, took the first available train home. The FIR, she adds, had graphic details of the assault. “I was shocked. The accused was old enough to be her grandfather and he had committed such a heinous act.”

“I was anxious and nervous about how to broach the conversation with the child.” She says that not having experienced sexual intimacy herself she wasn’t sure about how to ask the girl to detail the sexual assault she had suffered. “I turned to my mother.”

‘Judge promised victim ice-cream if she answered questions’

The first time she saw the victim, Khade remembers, the girl was clinging to her mother.

Khade said that the court granted her request for time to get familiar with the child. “Over a few hours I asked her general questions: about her school, home, parents, play, toys, ice-cream. The judge who was supportive said he would treat her to an ice-cream if she answered the questions.”

Eventually Khade started with the uncomfortable questions. “I broke them into small parts, asking her about her day, what was she wearing, where she sat in the accused’s home?

“Slowly, I managed to get her to describe the assault. As she did this she became violent and aggressive and even screamed at one point,” Khade says, adding that the child was enraged and scared when she saw the accused in court.

The defence, Khade says, attempted to make it seem that the case had been forged, but she told the court “such children cannot lie. They do not understand what is a lie. They cannot connect things and then live up to a lie”.

Seven years later…

In January 2007, the sessions court convicted Jadhav and sentenced him to 10 years’ rigorous imprisonment. Jadhav later challenged the order, and it came to the Bombay High Court the same year.

Relying on the victim’s testimony and that of the family, Justice R Y Ganoo of the HC ruled that there was no reason to disbelieve the witnesses. The judgment was proclaimed in April.

Khade who now works with the forest department, to earn extra in order to sustain her school, says of the case, “I feel that whatever I have learnt has been of some use and has got this child justice. I am glad that the high court had faith in our deposition. The girl deserved justice.”

Original Mumbai Mirror

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