Connect with us


After gas leak tragedy, Bhopal victims fall prey to virus



Victims of a horrifying 1984 gas leak in the Indian city of Bhopal, who have long suffered the debilitating fallout of the world’s worst industrial disaster, are now dying from coronavirus, with relatives and activists accusing the government of abandoning them and withholding treatment.

Toxic methyl isocyanate released from the Union Carbide pesticide factory killed 3,500 people in the central Indian city immediately and 25,000 more in the years that followed.

Now its victims make up a significant proportion of coronavirus fatalities in Bhopal — at least 20 out of 45, according to government data, while activists say 37 of the dead suffered illnesses related to the leak.

Gaurav Khatik’s 52-year-old father Naresh was one of them. Khatik said his father, who suffered lung damage in the disaster, was denied treatment at a hospital built for gas-afflicted patients.

The state-of-the-art Bhopal Memorial Hospital and Research Centre (BMHRC) — a busy four-storey 350-bed facility on a sprawling compound on the city’s outskirts — was requisitioned by the Madhya Pradesh state government in March for virus patients.

But the move created “a lot of confusion” and contributed to deadly treatment delays, Khatik told AFP.

A lack of transport due to the lockdown also meant that an average 40-minute journey from the city centre to the hospital became an arduous, longer trip under sweltering conditions.

Toxic chemicals released from the Union Carbide pesticide factory killed 3,500 people in the central Indian city immediately and 25,000 more in the years that followed. PHOTO: AFP/File / INDRANIL MUKHERJEE

“People wasted a lot of time going from one hospital to another to seek treatment, which claimed many lives,” the 20-year-old said.

The BMHRC turned away people who were not considered virus patients even though they had COVID-19 symptoms, critics said.

They were then denied treatment at other hospitals, with staff saying they did not have the specialised equipment to treat gas-related ailments. They were presumed not to have the virus and no tests were carried out.

“If there was no confusion over the status of Bhopal Memorial Hospital, my father would probably be alive,” Khatik said.

Naresh was eventually admitted to a private hospital, where he was finally tested for the virus as his condition deteriorated.

He died within hours of being found positive, leaving his shell-shocked family without a breadwinner and almost $1,180 in medical debt.

“He was our lifeline,” Khatik said, fighting to hold back tears.


Activists accuse the government of abandoning the community, whose health conditions make them vulnerable to coronavirus.

“We had alerted the government that if they didn’t take proactive action, many gas victims would die from COVID-19 … but they paid no heed,” Rachna Dhingra of the Bhopal Group for Information and Action told AFP.

“They should have reached out to all gas victims suffering from diabetes or hypertension and tested them.”

The Bhopal Memorial Hospital and Research Centre was requisitioned by the state government in March for coronavirus patients. PHOTO: AFP / Gagan Nayar

Like Khatik, housewife Gulnaz faced a “nightmare” when her father-in-law Riyazuddin — who suffered respiratory ailments after the gas disaster — complained of breathing difficulties.

“We had to struggle a lot… to get help,” the 35-year-old told AFP, adding that four hospitals, including BMHRC, refused to take the 65-year-old.

He was finally admitted to the state-run Hamidia Hospital, where he tested positive for coronavirus.

“He was in the hospital only for a day and passed away by evening,” Gulnaz, who only gave her first name, said.

Authorities eventually reversed their decision to requisition BMHRC. But the move came too late for many patients, Dhingra said.

The activist said at least five gas victims died from coronavirus because the hospital rejected them.

Bhopal’s health commissioner Faiz Ahmed Kidwai told AFP “only one case of a patient turned away is accurate”.

“All those who died did not die because BMHRC refused admission,” he said.

‘Too late’

The 1984 disaster left deep scars across the city of 1.8 million.

Government statistics compiled after 1994 say at least 100,000 people living near the plant suffered ailments including respiratory and kidney problems, and cancer.

Gas-affected mothers gave birth to infants with congenital disorders. Children fell ill from polluted groundwater.

Government statistics compiled after 1994 say at least 100,000 people living near the plant suffered ailments including respiratory and kidney problems, and cancer. PHOTO: AFP/File / INDRANIL MUKHERJEE

A $470-million settlement inked in 1989 only provided compensation to some 5,000 people, campaigners say.

The government in 2012 filed a legal petition seeking further damages from US chemical giant Dow Chemicals, which now owns Union Carbide.

The state’s Bhopal Gas Tragedy Relief and Rehabilitation department director Ved Prakash told AFP thermal screening was now being carried out on gas victims who have COVID-19 symptoms or are vulnerable “so that they can be isolated and quarantined”.

But Dhingra said the move — which reflects India’s push to largely limit testing to people with acute respiratory infections, cough and fever — would sound a death knell for gas victims.

“They have to test… instead of just screening patients who are high-risk. By the time they turn symptomatic, it will be too late.

“The entire system has collapsed and the most vulnerable are paying with their lives.”

Reporting and photos: AFP


Emirates undertakes largest known fleet retrofit project



Emirates has kick-started its plans to upgrade the entire interior cabins of 120 Airbus A380 and Boeing 777 aircraft – two of the largest commercial aircraft types in service today.

This ambitious project, representing a multi-billion dollar investment to ensure Emirates’ customers “fly better” for the coming years, officially commences in November and is managed entirely by Emirates’ Engineering team.

The target is to completely retrofit four Emirates aircraft from start to finish every month, continuously for over 2 years. Once the 67 earmarked A380s are refreshed and back in service, 53 777s will undergo their facelift. This will see nearly 4,000 brand new Premium Economy seats installed, 728 First Class suites refurbished and over 5,000 Business Class seats upgraded to a new style and design when the project is complete in April 2025.

In addition, carpets and stairs will be upgraded, and cabin interior panels refreshed with new tones and design motifs including the iconic ghaf trees which are native to the UAE.

No other airline has handled a retrofit of this magnitude in-house, and there’s no blueprint for such an undertaking. Therefore Emirates Engineering teams have been planning and testing extensively, to establish and streamline processes, and identify and address any possible snags.

Trials began on an A380 in July, where experienced engineers literally took each cabin apart piece-by-piece and logged every step. From removing seats and panelling to bolts and screws, every action was tested, timed and mapped out. Potential impediments to completing the installation of Emirates’ new Premium Economy Class or the retrofit of the remaining three cabins in just 16 days were flagged and documented for expert teams to review and address.

As part of the programme, new purpose-built workshops will be set up at Emirates Engineering to repaint, re-trim and re-upholster Business and Economy Class seats with new covers and cushioning. First Class suites will be carefully disassembled and sent to a specialised company to replace the leather, arm rests and other materials.

From the trials, Engineers discovered several unexpected solutions for instance: that existing food catering trucks could be easily repurposed to move parts destined for refurbishment from the aircraft to the workshop for their refresh, as these vehicles had doors of the right width and offer sufficient space.

Until the retrofit programme starts in earnest in November, a cross-disciplinary team has been assembled to regularly review the planning process, address any issues, and track updates on various aspects of the project such as procurement, staffing, and training.

Emirates’ new Premium Economy cabin class, which offers luxurious seats, more legroom, and a service to rival many airlines’ business offering, is currently available to Emirates customers travelling on popular A380 routes to London, Paris, Sydney. More customers will be able to experience the airline’s new Premium Economy cabins starting from year end, as the retrofit programme picks up momentum.

Continue Reading


Eleanor helps over 30 Maldives hotels elevate guest services



Eleanor has been named as one of the top 10 concierge software providers globally.

Based on accurate, timely reviews from real users, the HotelTechAwards rank the world’s best hotel software firms and products and it also provides hoteliers direct access to a growing network of hotel technology professionals and decision-makers.

“The guest experience is the cornerstone of our platform. Our unified resort wide solution, Eleanor, has been built for resorts off the back of many years working in the industry and addresses the needs of both Sales and Marketing departments and perhaps just as importantly, the operational requirements of the team on the ground at the property. The days of resorts working with disjointed systems are now behind us,” says Darren Caple, co-founder and CEO.

“We are on a mission to make the guest’s resort experience as easy and as frictionless as possible. Whereas traditional providers in the market have come at this purely from a guest communication perspective, our background in resorts has allowed us to combine this basic requirement with the streamlining of operational processes. The result is truly a resort wide solution that removes the need for countless different systems to be deployed.

Eleanor allows resorts to deliver consistent, superior service levels to guests across all stages of their journey with contactless features helping to alleviate sensitive touch-points in the post pandemic period. More than 30 properties in the Maldives use our Eleanor platform to help butlers and guest services elevate the guest experience. These properties are seeing an increase in incremental revenue by over 30% and operational efficiencies of 600+ man hours per month. We are also beginning to roll out the platform in some Caribbean properties!”

Eleanor is making waves in the hospitality industry by pushing the conventional limits of what a resort guest app can achieve through its unique ability to facilitate direct bookings for services and activities. The traditional ‘request to book’ feature that is common amongst almost all other hotel apps is removed by a power booking and operational platform sitting at the heart of the solution that covers all the resorts’ departments. It’s this module which realises enormous operational benefits and insights for the resort.

“We, at Eleanor, are humbled and honoured that our clients have provided such positive reviews. Feedback from our clients, partners and hoteliers are incredibly valuable for us and we will continue to improve our offering and services”, said Caple.

To celebrate this success, Eleanor is currently offering resorts a free one month trial, together with free setup and training and discounted monthly fees.

Eleanor, founded in 2018 and has its headquarters in the United Kingdom. Created from over 15 years of hands-on expertise, Eleanor allows resorts to deliver consistent, superior service levels to its guests across all stages of their journey with contactless features helping to alleviate sensitive touch-points in the post pandemic period. Eleanor also helps to unlock operational efficiencies and boost incremental revenue and guest loyalty.

Hotel Tech Report’s Best Concierge Software 2022 Runner Up, reviewed as a preferred and reliable hotel software product by the global hotelier community.

For more information, visit

Continue Reading


Emirates’ recruiters scour the world for cabin crew talent with 30 city stops



Emirates, the world’s most global airline, is seeking talented people with a passion for service to join its award-winning cabin crew team.

As air travel returns with a vengeance, the airline’s recruiters are busy meeting and hiring candidates in 30 cities from now until the end of June. In this latest drive, Emirates’ teams will travel from Australia to the UK, and dozens of European cities in between, as well as Cairo, Algiers, Tunis and Bahrain.

Abdulaziz Al Ali, Emirates Group’s Executive Vice President for Human Resources said: “There’s no more exciting airline than Emirates for anyone interested in a flying career, and we’ve received tremendous interest since we began our recruitment drive for cabin crew in November.”

“While parts of the application process are done online, we always make the effort to meet our candidates in person whenever we can, and that is why our Talent Acquisition team is doing a whirlwind 30-city tour over the next 6 weeks to assess prospective candidates.”

Emirates’ truly global cabin crew team represent 160 nationalities, reflecting its customer mix and international operations in over 130 cities on six continents.

All Emirates crew are based in the exciting cosmopolitan city of Dubai, with company-provided accommodation, tax-free salary and more benefits.

Interested candidates can read more about the Emirates cabin crew role, and apply online at:

Continue Reading


Copyright all rights reserved by Maldives Promotion House 2023.