Staff Correspondent

"The Prime Minister has not found time to meet us despite having more that two months notice"

Residents say children are underdeveloped, suffer from skin problemsAdults suffer from chest pain, tiredness, dim vision

NEW DELHI: Survivors of the Bhopal gas disaster on Saturday said they were disappointed that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had called off a scheduled meeting with them stating health reasons.

"We are extremely disappointed. Three gas victims are on the fifth day of a hunger strike, and the Prime Minister has not found time to meet us despite having more than two months notice," said Champa Devi Shukla, who is on a hunger strike. Victims of the disaster, at a press conference here, said their health was affected because of the contamination of ground water.

"My eldest son fell ill when he was eight. He never fully recovered. His hands still tremble when he drinks tea. He has four children, all of whom have skin problems. They experience rashes, boils and itching, and are physically retarded," said Shahida Bee, who lives in Blue Moon Colony in Bhopal. Tulsa Bai, also from Blue Moon Colony, said her 11-year-old grandson was too small for his age, and his teeth were decayed. "My third son has an eight-year-old daughter who is seriously underdeveloped.

Shanthi Naidu, a resident of Shankar Nagar, Bhopal, said four of her six children died in infancy. "My husband suffers from constant chest pain and dim vision. When he gets chest pain his eyes cloud over and he gets dizzy. He is not fit to work, and gets tired very easily," she said.