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  project name ~ Livelihood generation for Bhopal Victims

category ~ livelihood generation




  Project Name


Livelihood generation for Bhopal Victims



ICJB (International Campaign for Justice in B..



livelihood generation






Madhya Pradesh

  Budget Approved


$ 5397


  Year Approved







1   2  

  Chapter Coordinators


Samyuktha Gorrepati
Gauri Karve


College Park





Lighting their own lives: Group of Bhopal survivors earning livelihood through the solar lamps project. Shahi, Sadanand and Sanjay underwent training for the project. Suman is the accountant.





Twenty years after that fateful night in Bhopal, the surivivors still await justice on many fronts. The International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal is a coalition of peoples organizations, non-profit groups and individuals who have joined forces to campaign for justice for the survivors of the Union Carbide Disaster in Bhopal. It is spearheaded by the survivors (the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmachari Sangh) and long-time supporters like the Bhopal Group for Information & Action. AID-US, too has been supportive of their struggle and has campaigned for their rights.

For some time now, there have been efforts to evolve income generation projects for the survivors of the tragedy. The Solar Lantern proposal is the first step in this direction for AID. It was proposed by Rachna, AID Pilot Fellow and Vinuta, a Green Peace Volunteer, both also members of The International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal (ICJB *).

The project involves income generation for 4-5 Bhopal survivor families who will rent out about 60 solar lamps (started out with 30 lanterns) to hawkers on a daily basis. Apparently, there is a huge demand for it among hawkers (running into a few thousands) who are presently renting kerosene/battery operated lamps in the nights for their businesses. The idea is to promote clean, environmentally friendly, less physically demanding and economically viable livelihood options for the Bhopal victims. Also, it is seen as a venture where the local community (hawkers in this case) itself can help some of the Bhopal victims to earn money.

The project has been taken up after an extensive market survey among the hawkers. The Solar lamps are manufactured by a Delhi-based group, Rithika and the training has been provided by the Chennai group Sunmin, who have had success with a similar venture with beach hawkers.





November 2005 The story of Chirag is an interesting account of the ups and downs of a business venture and their determination to be a success. There were several issues that CHIRAG faced while executing the project – battery running out in 3 hours (instead of 5 hours), demand for ‘focused’ and colored lighting from the market vendors, lack of good technical support from the suppliers for repairing and remodeling the lanterns according to the market needs. Through all these tough challenges, CHIRAG members - Shahid, Suman, Pramod & Sadanand, with active support from Rachna Dhingra (AID fellow)- have persisted and worked through these problems to come up with solutions that have resulted in a successful, economically viable, business venture. Some important updates: 1. Started out with 30 lanterns, currently renting out 40 lanterns, 10 of which were purchased from a local dealer later for Rs. 1500/ lantern. 2. Purchased 15 new panels of 20 Watts @ Rs. 56,000 (+ Rs. 10,000 to set up the entire mechanism including the wiring, cabling and lantern repairs on the roof) since the old panels of 10 Watts were not sufficient enough to run the lanterns for more than 3 hours. 3. Plan to assemble 10 more lanterns locally and also convert 10 of the old lantern models, according to market demand specifications (focused lighting and more running time). Bodies of the new lanterns already assembled @ Rs. 2000/structure and the final lantern may cost Rs.6000 instead of Rs.8000 bought from Rithika. Need to purchase 10 more solar panels of 20 Watts (@ Rs. 40,000) to charge the new lanterns. One lantern already made in the new size, shape and configuration was test-tried successfully in the market. They will be working with a total of 50 lanterns which will be rented out @ Rs. 10/day instead of Rs.8/day. 4. CHIRAG has also started to produce literature about lanterns. They have also learnt to maintain and do assembling and repairs themselves. 5. All 4 of them are part of Bhopal Ki Awaaz and now they have also started becoming active in ICJB. They all are earning Rs 1500/month, as compared to Rs. 900/month during the early months of the business. They have 2 meetings in a month where all sorts of issues pertaining to CHIRAG''s functioning are discussed. 6. Their collections total to Rs. 61,157 which will be used to further their work. -------------------------------------------------------------------- November 2004 In mid August, a training session was conducted by Sunmin, Chennai to 5 people in Bhopal. The response from the hawkers was also positive. Within a month, 30 lanterns are being rented out and 30 more will be rented out in the next 1-2 months. Members of ICJB continue to pressure Union Carbide''''''''''''''''s current owner The Dow Chemical Company and the US and Indian governments to ensure adequate health care, safe environment and proper rehabilitation for the survivors of the disaster and their children.





The project attempts to promote clean, environmentally friendly, less physically demanding and economically viable livelihood options for the Bhopal Victims. The idea is to initiate several such clean and green livelihood options that would stand as an example to what can and needs to be done. Other such proposals include herbal garden, waste recycling unit, etc. The project is expected to earn profits starting from the first year onwards after which the money will be used to buy more lanterns and to expand the project to benefit more families.



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