Thursday, May 31, 2007

Malnutrition stalks children in MP, govt. remains indifferent

Sachin K Jain

Since children do not account for a vote bank, their needs are often sidelined. How else do you explain the escalating numbers of malnutrition children?

IN THE FIRST WEEK of October 2006, the enquiry committee was constituted by the commissioners of the Supreme Court to investigate hunger and malnutrition deaths. On their visit to the most backward tribal group, SAHERIYA dominated villages of Sheopur district of Madhya Pradesh, they found four children in Ranipur village – Bansi, Sonu, Sukhlal and Kiran severely malnourished. The district administration was immediately directed to provide medical facility, proper care and nutrition to these children right on the spot at the village, but after a month it was found that all the four children had succumbed owing to lack of treatment and nutrition. And it is not a coincidence that within a month, MP has come to be known as the most malnourished state.

The question is not only of statistics of what is the exact number of malnourished children and how many are dying everyday but the bitter truth behind the deaths is more important. The fact that in the race for a bright and shining development, we are trampling upon our children is indeed unjustifiable. The truth is bitter for Madhya Pradesh since during a period that the state was getting awards and recognition for progress and development, the National Family Health Survey III highlighted the fact that during the last eight years (1998-2006), the percent of malnourished children had increased by a serious five per cent. Owing to dearth of nutritious food, health facilities and family food insecurity, the percent of malnutrition (underweight) increased from 54 per cent to 60.3 per cent. It’s not the end of the story. It also says that only 14 per cent children under the age of three years breastfed within one hour of birth and 82.6 per cent of children between the age group of 6-35 months (the most critical period of life for mental and physical development) are anemic. On the other hand on the basis of their own data, Government of Madhya Pradesh has been claiming that the ratio of undernourishment has come down to somewhere around 49 per cent but field realities, (like Sheopur) do not support state claims.

In Bal Adhikar Samvad convention on 19th December in New Delhi, Nobel Prize winner and eminent welfare economist Prof. Amartya Sen said “It is now a clearly established reality that even after gaining high growth rate and increasing per capita income, we have failed to protect our children from hunger and diseases. I feel the question of resources is not the biggest one, a lot of money is being spent but the situation is not improving in accordance with the expenditure because our system delivery systems are worst, un-accountable and non-responsive towards the most marginalized, like children.”

And in Sen’s response Vice-Chairman of Planning Commission of India, Montek Singh Ahluwalia acknowledged the facts pointed out by him and said that there is need to change the system and develop the sense of responsibility towards children. He didn’t forget mentioning the ongoing tussle between state and central governments by saying that we can give money but the state governments have to ensure the results.

Now it is a transparent truth in the era of globalization that governments will not pay for children, state will just facilitate the process (controlled by the powerful). That is what happened in Madhya Pradesh, when NFHS-III data came out. Principal Secretary of Women and Child Development, Government of Madhya Pradesh, Prashant Mehta in his statement said, “We don’t agree with the NFHS data, malnutrition has decreased in MP and we will go for a separate and independent study.” It means the state government has questioned the most reliable source of information and technique, because it is done by the central government and the efforts made by the state are genuinely questioned.

For those who think that malnutrition in general has no relation with wider aspects of the society should understand that unless the physical and mental abilities of children are not developed properly, the dream of 8-10 per cent development rate cannot be fulfilled. The saddest part is that most seriously malnutrition hit areas and communities are in MP. On the other hand, malnutrition decreased by ten per cent in Maharashtra, seven per cent in Rajasthan, nine per cent in Chhattisgarh and five percent in Uttar Pradesh.

It is not that malnutrition problem was not serious earlier, but like other aspects of child rights, this will also go neglected because children are neither vote banks nor can they sit in dharna before the state assembly to demand their rights. However, the discrepant development policies have put these children on continuing hunger strike. There was a hope that people’s representatives would take up the matter in democratic forums (Parliament and Assembly) to make policies towards giving rights to children in an honourable manner. However during last five years these houses gave only 0.3 per cent time to these issues and only 77 questions were raised. Not once was any ruckus created in these houses on the issue of malnutrition among children.

It becomes a matter of concern then that when it is being claimed all round that development is surfacing in all spheres, why is the situation of malnutrition becoming graver by the day.

250 million die due to tobacco use

A million of this country's 250 million tobacco users die annually. “India, which is the third largest producer and consumer of tobacco after China and the US, has the dubious distinction of having the highest number of tobacco-linked oral cancer victims in the world,'' Indian Dental Association Vice-President and Dental Council of India Member G D Agarwal told media persons on the eve of World No Tobacco Day.

Tobacco causes several types of cancer but oral cancer accounts for 30 per cent of the tobacco toll -- three lakh deaths every year. As per the ICMR report, among tobacco users, 16 per cent are cigarette smokers and 44 per cent are beedi smokers -- a total 60 per cent. This implies that from among 150 million tobacco smokers, 90 per cent are at risk of lung cancer. The other 40 per cent use it along with betel nut, leaf, in gutka etc and are at risk of Oral Sub Mucous Fibrosis (OSMF).

“OSMF, caused by excess chewing of tobacco and betel nut, is leading to oral cancer as it is irreversible and pre-cancerous in nature,” claimes Dr Agarwal. Symptoms include burning sensation in the mouth, inability to open one's mouth, loss of taste and diminished ability to tolerate spicy food.

Pointing out that of the total victims of tobacco 90 per cent are mostly poor and hail from rural areas, the local Gandhi Medical College's former professor added that this 'frightening figure' is increasing day by day. “There is no definite treatment for OSMF. A high risk of oral cancer exists among OSMF victims when they consume tobacco, whether in smokeless or smoking form,” he warned.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Water crisis looms large in MP

by Anil Gulati

Madhya Pradesh has been facing acute water shortage for the past many years, but nothing concrete has been done in this direction. It is high time that the administration looks into the matter and focuses on providing safe drinking water.

LAST WEEK hundreds of men and women from ward number 3 of Dabra area in Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh got together and submitted a memorandum to the district administration complaining about the acute water shortage they have been facing for past several months.

In a similar case, MP High Court directed the Divisional Commissioner, District Collector and Civil Surgeon Jabalpur to present before the court regarding a hearing on the petition filed by citizens of the district. The petition challenged the district administration and the health officers for not providing pure drinking water and hygienic environment to the people of several areas of the district. The petition also mentioned about the inadequate medical facilities at the Government Victoria Hospital, Jabalpur and the inability of health department to provide proper treatment for seasonal and infectious diseases.

Madhya Pradesh is situated in the center of India and has forty-eight districts. As per the website of Central Water Ground Board, a government body, which monitors water situation in the country, 24 out of 313 blocks are over exploited and many others are either in semi critical or critical stage.

The January 2007 reports on water situation, available on the same site suggests that, a drop of two meters in the ground water level has been observed in 40.73 per cent of wells monitored by them. Between two and four meter drop in the ground water level was observed in some parts of Balaghat, Bhind, Morena, Guna, Rajgarh, Sagar, Shajapur, Rewa, Satna, Panna, Tikamgarh, Katni, Sidhi, Chhindwara, Damoh, Sheopur, Gwalior, Shivpuri, Chhatarpur, Dindori, Mandla and Hoshangabad districts and a fall above four meter was observed in parts of Bhind, Gwalior, Sheopur, Morena, Shivpuri, Datia, Chhatarpur, Rajgarh, Tikamgarh Rewa, Panna, Satna, Sagar, and Chhindwara districts of the state.

Reports say that very high fluctuation (heavy fall in ground water level) has been noticed in number of wells. The basic reason is that some of the wells, which had dried up were deepened further and now they record shallower ground water levels. The body did observe rise in the water level at few places and that was may be due to the efforts of different bodies working for water conservation.

Just few days back in one of the districts, Harda, a 14-year-old girl dug a 22-feet deep well, so that her mother should not have to walk miles in the search of water. "My parents were really worried because of water shortage in the area. The lone hand pump in the area is too far from my place and it usually remains crowded. Many a times people fight for water. So, I thought of digging a well to resolve the crippling water shortage," was Reshma’s answer to the media when questioned. She worked for over seven hours a day for two weeks to find the water.

The shortage of water during the summer months is a perennial problem in several regions of Madhya Pradesh, and the growing population has only added to the woes. In extreme conditions, people have to draw water from small water holes. Thousands of villagers trek miles in search of water and sometimes they even enter into a brawl.

Many state districts have been regularly reporting shortage of water not only in summers but in winters also. Panchayats in Shivpuri district of the state did not cast their votes in by-elections held in April this year. The reason was - water shortage, which impacted lives of people in the district. Reports from Sagar, another district of the state point out areas in the district such as Dawari, Bina, Khurai, Raheli, Gadahota and Sagar block, which have been facing acute water shortage. Water levels have fallen down to the extent that local people say, district would witness large scale migration in coming years if situation does not change.

Not only in districts, even in the state capital Bhopal, people are facing acute water shortage. According to media reports around 30 per cent of water gets lost due to leakage in water pipes, which too contributes to the shortage.

It is not only about water shortage in the state, water quality also demands immediate attention. Thousands of children and women every year suffer from diarrhea in the state due to lack of safe drinking water. The state every year witnesses thousands of gastroenteritis cases, many of which can be avoided by providing safe drinking water. Though hand pumps are there but in many places these are just for namesake. Many of them are not functional and need immediate repair. In 22 districts excess quantity of fluoride has been found in water. As per an estimate, about 16,000 children in Seoni district and people in 120 villages of Guna are suffering because of excess quantity of fluoride in water.

However, caste, economic disparities and gender also play an important role here. Especially women and children are among those who have to bear the brunt. A Dalit woman was allegedly beaten up by two young men in Thakurpura area of Shivpuri over the issue of water. According to the reports women (the ones who normally get water) have to travel kilometers to get the water for their families.

The figures can vary but fact of the matter is that it is not only the water shortage, but water quality and access to it are also in question. The matter needs attention from not only media, but also from civil society, water experts, and other organizations.

Government of India has announced the year 2007 as "Water Year" with a view to address water-related issues. It is the time to move away from the realm of words and take action so that people of the state can breathe a sigh of relief.

Blogs help raise social awareness in Madhya Pradesh

Blogs are the latest platform being used to raise concern and stir public opinion and action on issues like maternal deaths, proving to be a good advocacy tool for issues that would have remained otherwise invisible.

INTERESTING BLOGS, which raise concern on social issues, are catching up in Bhopal in the heart of India, from the state capital of Madhya Pradesh. Blogs like, reflect what is being written in the media on the issue of safe motherhood and raise concern on the high maternal mortality ratio in the state. The blog is contributing its bit to give visibility to the issue of maternal deaths and factors impacting the same. It brings out stories published at the district level edition or in the local newspapers which many a times do not figure at the state level media so that it can reach people who matter – the policy makers and people on the net. This blog takes extra effort either by translating the Hindi news items into English or adapting it from Hindi edition and reproducing it on the web log to draw attention to the cause.

Many a times these news stories can be a pitch for the big story – which probably adds to the purpose of this blog. Some examples in this regard could be of the stories of how lack of blood in the Bhind district hospital killed two during delivery on the same day or how state schemes face implementation glitches at ground level; stories that made it to the state news. This means that the blog is getting noticed. The blog also features in a Google blog search on the issue, and its updates are very fast on the search engine - an evidence to the fact that blog updates is shown faster on the search engines as compared to website updates.

The other blog from the state is . This started in the year 2005 and is still going strong as it has many people logging in. The others, which may be worth a mention, is, news on initiatives for children of the state, on tourism in MP and reflects an issue of female foeticide in India, a pertinent issue today.

With facilities like Google alerts, possibilities are expanding for blogs like these and for the people who contribute to these blogs. A Google search on the topic will throw up more information via blogs than the existing websites.

Everyday hundreds and thousands of blogs get created on various sites like,, that unravel issues that have been disregarded and haven’t got the attention they deserve. A great way of helping bring the plight of people into focus.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Helpless labourers fall prey to TB in Madhya Pradesh

The lives of labourers begin from mines and end with tuberculosis in the Chambal region of Madhya Pradesh. Forced to work in illegal stone quarries because they get no other jobs, constant exposure to silica dust puts the labourers at high risk of getting TB.

Saharia tribals and backward classes, most of whom suffer from tuberculosis, dominate the Pahargarh, Chhaina, Likhiganj and Sihonia villages of Madhya Pradesh's Morena district.
The benefits of the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP) continue to evade these poverty stricken villagers and even when they manage to get medicines, they are not cured because of high levels of malnutrition.

As most of the people who work at the stone quarries have not been included in the below poverty line (BPL) list, they are not provided with BPL ration cards.

Arun Sharma, a local medical practitioner said, "The main reason behind the spread of TB is the type of houses in which they live. The second reason is malnutrition among these people, due to which they easily get affected by TB or any other disease."

Twenty five-year-old Gita of Pahargarh village is one of the hundreds of tuberculosis patients in the area who are unable to get the Directly Observed Treatment Short Course (DOTS) medicines as the gulf between availability of medical services and access to them is impossible to bridge.

A resident of Pahargarh village, 39 year-old Siayaram, said he is a TB patient but is not getting medicines from the government hospital. "I've to go to Morena where I'm getting treatment at a private hospital," he said. Mamta, 20, also gets her tuberculosis medicines worth about Rs 500 every ten days from a private hospital in Morena.

"It is true that many people are unable to get the treatment in government hospitals as government hospitals are only doing the formality of DOTS programme. They want to do minimum work. These problems will increase with the increase in number of patients. Therefore they want to keep the number of patients at a minimum", said Sharma.

The situation is similar in the Sihona block, which has about 1300 TB patients. Although there is a community health centre in the village, the facilites are inadequate to cater to all the TB patients.

However, block medical officer Padmesh Upadhyay claims that TB is now fully under control. "Earlier there was little hope of a TB patient getting cured. Now it is my endeavour to start the treatment as soon as possible once the disease is detected," he said.

Another problem with the treatment of TB is that if the medicines are skipped even once then the patient has to do the entire course again. If the medicine is not taken properly at the right time then it can do more harm than good. In such a situation there is a risk of drug resistance and treatment becomes difficult, says health officials


Sunday, May 06, 2007

India's untouchable millionaire

India's untouchable millionaire makes an exclusive story in The Observer

Amelia Gentleman covers Hari Pippal of Agra rags to riches story

here is what she writes -

As a child, Hari Pippal slept alongside his six sisters and eight brothers on a stretch of pavement. As a teenager, he pedalled a bicycle rickshaw to help feed the family. Now the owner of a large, profitable private hospital, a shoe factory, a motorbike dealership and a successful restaurant, Hari Pippal has become a symbol of the enormous possibilities available in new India to anyone with entrepreneurial flair.

The fact that this self-made millionaire has risen to the top despite being a Dalit (an untouchable) has prompted some to promote his achievements as proof that, as India races towards economic transformation, a more egalitarian society is emerging. Magazines feature him as a Dalit success story. Pippal, however, is uneasy with his status as poster boy for a casteless modern India. He believes his triumphs have come in spite of his caste and warns that, as India becomes richer, caste divisions are becoming ever more pronounced. At the headquarters of his business empire, he said: 'As a rule India's economic boom is only enjoyed by high-caste people. This is a great tragedy for India, because so much talent is being excluded. I feel real despair.'

The Hindu concept of untouchability was abolished in 1950, but the challenge of eradicating prejudices dating back thousands of years has defeated successive governments. Last week in Delhi the issue of caste-related inequalities divided politicians as they argued over the merits of extending affirmative action programmes in universities for backward castes. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has compared the caste system to apartheid South Africa. 'Untouchability is not just social discrimination; it is a blot on humanity,' he said.

Pippal believes that the government needs to force the blossoming corporate sector to introduce positive discrimination schemes of the kind which have existed in the public sector for decades.
'The government believes the scheduled caste [the official term for Dalits] is coming up, that the caste system is disappearing. That is wrong. The gap between the scheduled castes and the higher castes is increasing,' Pippal said. 'Lower castes are still very poor. Without money it's hard to take advantage of the new opportunities, so they stay poor and everyone else gets richer.'

Pippal became conscious of his status on the first day at school. His teachers would mutter in his direction: 'You people are ill-educated, badly dressed and don't know how to behave'. Consigned to do the jobs no one else wants - latrine-cleaners and roadsweepers - Dalits have traditionally been forbidden from touching the food or water of upper castes. Pippal, 56, remembers how teachers would never ask him to bring them water or invite him to eat with them, as they did other higher-caste pupils.

'I responded by deciding I had to be better than the others - cleverer, better dressed, better behaved, more successful,' he said. But the snubs and subtle insults have lasted a lifetime. His surname identifies him as a Dalit, so when he opened his first company he called it 'People's Export' - which sounded about the same, but did not have the same negative connotations.
When he opened his hospital in 2004, it was difficult to recruit high-caste doctors, many of whom would not contemplate working under him. Because the hospital, a few kilometres from the Taj Mahal, swiftly gained a reputation, attitudes changed and he now employs 25 upper-caste doctors. Even now, several of the Dalit doctors avoid revealing their surname, relying on initials so that they don't alarm higher-caste patients.

When the oldest of his five sons said that he was engaged to a girl from a higher caste, Pippal was happy that his son had found someone he loved. Her parents, too, made no objection to the match, but a few days later about 100 people from her community arrived at Pippal's flat, threatening to kill the girl's parents if the marriage went ahead. 'I told my son that he would destroy their whole family if he persisted in the marriage, and he understood,' Pippal said. The son recently married a Dalit doctor from his father's hospital. 'Now I believe my children should marry within their caste. It's better that way.'

India has a number of Dalit role models who have battled their way to the top. This year KG Balakrishnan was sworn in as chief justice of India, the first Dalit to hold the post. Narendra Jadhav, the chief economist of India's central bank, is a Dalit. Yet the social mobility which usually accompanies rapid economic growth has barely touched this 150 million-strong community, the bulk of whom remain deprived and oppressed. Dalits die sooner and are more likely to be malnourished, unemployed and murdered than others.

Pippal knows how exceptional his life has been when he meets his contemporaries from primary school. 'All of my school friends of my caste are still sitting on a pavement making shoes,' he said. 'They are angry with the system, but what can they do?'

God owns country ?

Sreelatha Menon

Kerala, lauded for being a model state in education and many development indicators, has a healthcare system that seems to be chronically ill.

Here is something good, bad and ugly.

The good thing is that Kerala’s health minister has been held answerable by a court for the deaths of 39 newborn babies in a government hospital due to hospital induced infections. In fact, the minister and seven key health officials have been charged with culpable homicide by the additional chief judicial magistrate of Thiruvananthapuram.

The bad news is the death itself of 39 babies out of the 101 births in Sri Avittam Thirunal Hospital in the state capital in the space of three months.

The ugly part is that Kerala, lauded for being a model state in education and many development indicators, has a healthcare system that seems to be chronically ill.

Last year, it was a spate of deaths due to mosquito bite. The state said it was chikungunya and the Centre said it was not.

Hence, people kept dying without anyone making up his mind what ailed the hundreds who died untended.

The poor public healthcare apparatus was exposed like never before. Now the institutional deliveries that the state can take pride in, turn out to be as bad as the absence of any such facilities, which plagues the rest of the country where 70 per cent of children are born in their homes.

In Kerala, according to the latest National Family Health Survey (NFHS), 99.7 per cent of babies are born in hospitals. So is that good and bad, if government hospitals offer no guarantee of infection-free neo-natal facilities?

Yet the good part cannot be underplayed. For, the deaths themselves are not shocking if one were to go by the standards of hygiene prevailing in hospitals in the rest of the country. Add to that the indifference of health authorities when these things are pointed out.

So, it is probably a positive sign that the superintendent of Sri Avittam Thirunal Hospital has been held accountable and transferred, and a court has charged the health minister, the school teacher turned politician K P Srimathy Teacher, under Sections 304 and 34 of the IPC and the Opposition as well as the media are baying for the blood of the LDF government.

An estimated 1.2 million babies die in India each year in the first month after birth, making up two-thirds of the nation’s infant mortality of 67 per thousand live births. The Government of India has set itself a target of lowering it to 30 per thousand by 2010.

Kerala has the lowest infant mortality rate of 15 per thousand births as against the all-India average of 60. But again, that is hardly good news. For, while infant mortality has been declining even in states like Orissa, in Kerala, with 91 per cent homes having electricity, 97 per cent having toilets and everything seeming otherwise rosy, the infant mortality as well as the number of underweight babies have been on the rise as per the third NFHS.

So, what is wrong with the state which provides 90 per cent of nurses for the rest of the country and a substantial number to the rest of the world?

The earlier Kerala identifies its warts and treats them, the better for its children who are otherwise the most endangered species in the rest of the country.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Save the 'Witches'

by Shuriah Niazi

Women in the tribal villages of the Malwa region of Madhya Pradesh are victims of superstition. Take the case of Bhuri Bai (38) of Baman village in Jhabua district. Last year, she was brutally beaten before being paraded through the village. Ironically, the culprits knew her well: they were her neighbours of many years. Strangely enough, they had been led into believing that she was a witch.Bhuri Bai is no exception: every year, a number of similar cases emerge from the state. Yet, what is most baffling is that such cases find a quiet mention in government records. Even the attitude of the police is disappointing. According to villagers, what the police encourage is that they settle the matter mutually.

Bhuri Bai's misery began when an 'ojha' (sorcerer) declared her responsible for the death of a child. After the boy's last rites, a piece of flesh was said to have been found near the pyre. The village 'ojha' lost no time in blaming Bhuri Bai and instigating the villagers to attack her. Her husband, Keshav, barely managed to save her from their deathblows.There are others who have not been so fortunate. According to police records, of the last three years, 22 women were branded witches and beaten to death, in Jhabua district alone. Elaborates social worker Rahul Kumar (34), "Witchcraft is common to the Jhabua, Dhar and Khargone districts, and women are usually treated as animals. Victims are afraid to lodge a police complaint, fearing retaliation. After all, they have to live in the same village, amidst their tormentors."Some time ago, Rahul Kumar, along with a group of people and women victims, called on the then Jhabua Superintendent of Police (SP), Umesh Joga, with a written memorandum, urging him to tackle the menace. However, the SP said that he could take up the issue only when a FIR was lodged against the perpetrators.Belief in witchcraft is not uncommon in the districts of Rajgarh, Khargone, Badwani and Jhabua where 'ojha's boast of their powers to detect a witch - albeit for a price. Villagers simply need to cough up a goat, a bottle of wine or fowl to make an 'ojha' smell a witch. Unfortunately, in this quid pro quo scheme of things, the villagers fail to smell a rat. Shyam Singh (37), from village Pisnaval, believes in the existence of witches. He also feels that only an 'ojha' has the 'cure' for the 'condition'.While Inspector Anirud Prasad in village Bamania reiterates that the police have nabbed sorcerers and are pro active, social activists believe that the police only responds to untoward incidents, rather than nipping things in the bud as is required.Congress worker and social activist Amitabh Shukla from Pisnaval village of Badwani district reveals, "In most cases, women are so humiliated that they cannot continue to live in their village." In fact, the family of the mobbed woman also ends up living like outcasts and soon after her death many are forced to flee their village.While 'ojha's cast their spell over villagers, creating a sense of fear and insecurity through their hogwash talk of black magic, witchcraft, and superstition, the real reasons why women are branded witches is plain economics or sex.Women who shun sexual advances of their neighbours are often made to pay a heavy price: the spurned and avenging man can have the woman declared a witch and, subsequently, get them shunned from society with the connivance of a greedy 'ojha'. Widows, who refuse to relinquish claim over their husband's property, can similarly be compelled into compliance.

Witch hunting is widespread in Madhya Pradesh, but is more dominant in the tribal-dominated areas of the state. Explains Rajjo Malviya, member, State Women Commission, "The people of the area are uneducated... The sorcerers are taking advantage of this."Kusum Mahdele, state minister for Women and Child Development, assured that the government was working towards ending the evil. "...It is expected that a law will soon be put in place," she said.

While government data puts the deaths at around 90, it is estimated that many more 'witches' have been killed during the last three years in the region. Several deaths have gone unreported, while superstition may not have been cited as the cause for others.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Court says no to plea for bhopal gas victims

The Supreme Court has turned down a plea by various NGOs and individuals for enhanced compensation to victims of the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy.

The petitions had sought a nearly fivefold increase in the $470 million compensation, stating that it was inadequate and several victims had not received the amount.The Bhopal tragedy had taken place on the intervening night of Dec 2-3, 1984 as poisonous methyl isocyanate gas escaped from the Union Carbide factory killing thousands. A petition by the Bhopal Gas Mahila Pidita Sangh had claimed that more people than originally believed had died in the tragedy so more compensation should be given to the victims. SC also said that the people who have been adversely affected by the tragedy should approach the tribunal in Bhopal. The compensation amount paid to the victims of the Bhopal gas tragedy in 1984 was $478 million (approx 1,955 crore). Last month the Centre had requested the SC to close down the compensation claims of over 14,000 victims after the efforts to trace them failed.

This is unfortunate decision said an activist working in the area and it is denial of thier right he added

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

New syllabus for High School and Higher Secondary exams in MP

Bhopal, Apr 30: The Madhya Pradesh Government is implementing new syllabus for high school and higher secondary school students from 2007-08.Madhya Pradesh Board of Secondary Education Secretary D D Agrawal said the new syllabus had been prepared for providing better competitive opportunities to students.The new syllabus would be implemented for class IX and XI in 2007-08 and for class X and XII in 2008-09.Referring the to specialties in the new syllabus, he said besides language subjects, students could choose from mathematics, computer, application book-keeping and accountancy. Mr Agrawal said this would help students improve their skills besides making them eligible for appearing in Pre-Medical Test and Pre-Engineering Test.Likewise, higher secondary students can study vocational subjects as a part of group along with mathematics and other main subjects.He said only one book would be prescribed for language subject instead of special and general language papers.

released by UNI