Bhopal gas tragedy activist’s campaign brings BMHRC under RTI Act ambit

    By Pervez Bari,,

    Bhopal: The Central Information Commission, (CIC), has brought Bhopal Memorial Hospital and Research Centre, (BMHRC), under the ambit of Right to Information, (RTI), Act. The Information Commissioner of CIC Mr. Shailesh Gandhi hearing on the second appeal on an RTI application moved by Ms Rachna Dhingra, an activist working for the cause of gas victims, came out with the order on October 20. Ms Dhingra is associated with Bhopal Group for Information and Action.

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    The order said that as such it was the responsibility of the director of BMHRC to appoint a PIO and the First Appellate Authority immediately. If this is not done then it violates the provisions of the RTI Act and the Commission would hold the director responsible for the lapse.

    It may be pointed out here that BMHRC has been refusing to come under the ambit of RTI since July 2010 when it was officially taken over by the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE). This CIC order will ensure that BMHRC sets up RTI at their institution and entertain all RTI requests relating to their hospital.

    The BMHRC management and trustees have been accused of corruption and opening the hospital to private patients and rejecting medical care of gas victims. The hospital top consultants and management has also been involved in unethical and illegal drug trials which has killed more than 13 gas victims from 2004-2008.

    The RTI will help expose all those involved in scams like converting non-gas victims to gas victims, illegal drug trials and mismanagement of the hospital. “This has been a long 9 month battle to get information under RTI from BMHRC. Even though BMHRC continued to resist every attempt to bring it under the purview of RTI Act, the CIC has vindicated our stand,” said Ms Dhingra.

    It may be mentioned here that BMHRC is a 350-bedded multi-specialty tertiary care centre situated at Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. This institute was started as per the directive of the Supreme Court of India to provide advanced tertiary level super-specialty care to the victims of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy (1984) as well as to extend its services to the public at large. ([email protected])