India: 33 years on, Bhopal victims of Union Carbide poisoning wait in vain for due recompense Print E-mail

 Sunday December 03, 2017

Thirty three years of Bhopal tragedy

DH Web Desk:
 
: Members of Sambhavana Trust Clinic, which provide medical assistance to gas affected along with Children of survivor of gas victims during a candle light vigil to pay tributes to the people killed in gas tragedy, on 33rd anniversary of gas disaster in Bhopal on Saturday. (PTI)

It has been 33 years since Bhopal witnessed one of the largest industrial disasters in the world. On December 2, 1984, 40 tonnes of methyl isocyanate (MIC) leaked from a tank at the Union Carbide Corporation (UCC). MIC is used for producing carbamate pesticides, which are used in gardens and for agricultural purposes as well.

The Madhya Pradesh government's statistics show 3,787 died immediately. According to an affidavit filed in the Supreme Court by the Centre on October 26, 2006, more than 5.5 lakh people were injured. As per organisations, at least 20,000 have died over the years.

The medical management guidelines for methyl isocyanate published by the agency for toxic substances and disease registry says, "Methyl isocyanate is irritating and corrosive to the eyes, respiratory tract, and skin. Acute exposure to high vapor (vapour) concentrations may cause severe pulmonary edema and injury to the alveolar walls of the lung, severe corneal damage, and death. Survivors of acute exposures may exhibit long-term respiratory and ocular effects. Methyl isocyanate may be a dermal and respiratory sensitiser."

Even now, controversies over the reason for the disaster and compensation have not ended. Many are of the view that the Bhopal Gas Leak Disaster (Processing of Claims) Act, 1985, was not successful in meeting its objectives.

UCC paid $470 million in compensation in a settlement reached with the Union government, mediated by the Supreme Court of India.

"The unjust Settlement of 14/15.02.1989 was a complete sham with each gas victim being finally awarded less than one-fifth of the sum allotted even as per the terms of the settlement. As a result, the gas victims have had to wage concerted struggles in their quest for medical relief and rehabilitation, compensation, environmental remediation and justice," read a joint statement of Bhopal Gas Peedith Mahila Udyog Sangathan and Bhopal Gas Peedith Sangharsh Sahayog Samiti on Saturday.

Allegations of an improper judicial process have also been raised. The charges against Keshub Mahindra and six others (Union Carbide officials) were "diluted" from culpable homicide to rashness and negligence in 1996. They were convicted in 2010.

Allegations were also levelled against the Rajiv Gandhi government for "helping" Warren Anderson, CEO of UCC to leave India soon after the disaster. After he left the country, he was charged with culpable homicide. Requests for extradition was rejected by the US. Anderson died in 2014.
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 Sunday December 03, 2017

33 years on, Bhopal gas tragedy survivors still await adequate payout

The abandoned Union Carbide factory in Bhopal. (PTI file)

Bhopal: Thirty-three years after the Bhopal gas tragedy, survivors are still fighting for adequate compensation and proper medical treatment for ailments caused by the toxic leak.

Families of the deceased and people, who bore the brunt of the industrial disaster, are now signing a petition, to be sent to the Supreme Court, requesting it to start hearing a curative petition of the government filed in December 2010 for more compensation.

The US company which then owned the chemical plant here, from where the poisonous gas leaked in 1984, has not yet adequately compensated the victims, a Madhya Pradesh minister said.

The victims of the “world’s worst disaster” had not been paid adequately by US-based Union Carbide Corporation (UCC) now owned by Dow Chemicals, MP’s Bhopal Gas Tragedy Relief and Rehabilitation Minister Vishwas Sarang said.

He alleged that the then Central government led by the Congress was more interested in helping the multi-national company rather than bringing it to book.

“The Central and the state governments, both led by the Congress, helped the then UCC chairman, Warren Anderson, who had come to Bhopal after the tragedy, to escape to the US,” Sarang claimed.

He said the curative petition seeks compensation of more than Rs 1,000 crore from the UCC (now owned by Dow) for the welfare of the victims.

Abdul Jabbar, the convenor of the Bhopal Gas Peedith Mahila Udyog Sanghathan, who has been working for the survivors for over three decades, said the UCC gave a compensation of USD 470 million (Rs 715 crore) after the toxic gas leak from the Union Carbide factory on the intervening night of December 2-3, 1984, killed 3,000 people and affected 1.02 lakh others.

“We all challenged the meagre compensation in the Supreme Court saying that the number of victims was ‘too high’ and the compensation given by Union Carbide was ‘too small’ in 1989,” Jabbar said.

He added that the claim courts for the tragedy started work in Bhopal in 1990 and completed it by 2005.

The Rs 715 crore-compensation was paid to the families of 15,274 deceased and 5.74 lakh affected by the leak, he said.

Jabbar said the signature campaign for more compensation was launched by those whose health had been affected by the gas leak.

“We moved the apex court again in 2005 saying that the number of victims had swelled five fold,” Jabbar said.

On December 3, 2010, the Centre and the state government filed a curative petition in the apex court seeking more compensation for the victims from UCC, Jabbar said.

“But nothing has happened after that. So now the sufferers are signing the petition, with a request to the Supreme Court to hear the curative petition and decide the matter at the earliest,” he added.

The survivors were suffering from many diseases, including cancer, tumours and lung problems, caused by the inhalation of the poisonous gas three decades ago, he said.

“They are not getting proper medical care as they don’t have money,” Jabbar said.

He accused the Congress government and the BJP-led NDA rule of not doing enough to bring Anderson to book.

“Anderson escaped from the country after the Congress government as the Centre buckled under US pressure in 1984,” he claimed.

The CBI, when the NDA was in power in 2002, tried to “dilute the charges” against Anderson which made the extradition of the US national difficult, he added.

On June 7, 2010, a Bhopal court convicted seven executives of Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) to two years’ imprisonment in connection with the incident.

Anderson was the prime accused in the case but did not appear for the trial. On February 1, 1992, the Bhopal CJM court declared him an absconder.

The courts in Bhopal had issued non-bailable warrants against Anderson twice­in 1992 and 2009.

Anderson died in September, 2014. PTI
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 Sunday December 03, 2017

Bhopal gas tragedy: 33 yrs on, survivors still await adequate compensation

The US company, which then owned the chemical plant in Bhopal, has not yet adequately compensated the victims

PTI

Families of the deceased and survivors are now signing a petition, to be sent to the Supreme Court, requesting it to start hearing a curative petition of the govt filed in Dec 2010 for more compensation. (Photo: PTI/File)

Bhopal: Thirty-three years after the Bhopal gas tragedy, survivors are still fighting for adequate compensation and proper medical treatment for ailments caused by the toxic leak.

Families of the deceased and people who bore the brunt of the industrial disaster are now signing a petition, to be sent to the Supreme Court, requesting it to start hearing a curative petition of the government filed in December 2010 for more compensation.

The US company, which then owned the chemical plant in Bhopal, from where the poisonous gas leaked in 1984, has not yet adequately compensated the victims, a Madhya Pradesh minister said.

The victims of the "world's worst disaster" had not been paid adequately by US-based Union Carbide Corporation (UCC) now owned by Dow Chemicals, MP's Bhopal Gas Tragedy Relief and Rehabilitation Minister Vishwas Sarang told PTI.

He alleged that the then Central government led by the Congress was more interested in helping the multi-national company rather than bringing it to book.

"The Central and the state governments, both led by the Congress, helped the then UCC chairman, Warren Anderson, who had come to Bhopal after the tragedy, to escape to the US," Sarang claimed.

He said the curative petition seeks compensation of more than Rs 1,000 crore from the UCC (now owned by Dow) for the welfare of the victims.

Abdul Jabbar, the convenor of the Bhopal Gas Peedith Mahila Udyog Sanghathan, who has been working for the survivors for over three decades, said the UCC gave a compensation of USD 470 million (Rs 715 crore) after the toxic gas leak from the Union Carbide factory on the intervening night of December 2-3, 1984, killed 3,000 people and affected 1.02 lakh others.

"We all challenged the meagre compensation in the Supreme Court saying that the number of victims was 'too high' and the compensation given by Union Carbide was 'too small' in 1989," Jabbar said.

He added that the claim courts for the tragedy started work in Bhopal in 1990 and completed it by 2005.

The Rs 715 crore-compensation was paid to the families of 15,274 deceased and 5.74 lakh affected by the leak, he said.

Jabbar said the signature campaign for more compensation was launched by those whose health had been affected by the gas leak.

"We moved the apex court again in 2005 saying that the number of victims had swelled five fold," Jabbar said.

On December 3, 2010, the Centre and the state government filed a curative petition in the apex court seeking more compensation for the victims from UCC, Jabbar said.

"But nothing has happened after that. So now the sufferers are signing the petition, with a request to the Supreme Court to hear the curative petition and decide the matter at the earliest," he added.

The survivors were suffering from many diseases, including cancer, tumours and lung problems, caused by the inhalation of the poisonous gas three decades ago, he said.

"They are not getting proper medical care as they don't have money," Jabbar said.

He accused the Congress government and the BJP-led NDA rule of not doing enough to bring Anderson to book.

"Anderson escaped from the country after the Congress government as the Centre buckled under US pressure in 1984," he claimed.

The CBI, when the NDA was in power in 2002, tried to "dilute the charges" against Anderson which made the extradition of the US national difficult, he added.

On June 7, 2010, a Bhopal court convicted seven executives of Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) to two years' imprisonment in connection with the incident.

Anderson was the prime accused in the case but did not appear for the trial. On February 1, 1992, the Bhopal CJM court declared him an absconder.

The courts in Bhopal had issued non-bailable warrants against Anderson twice -- in 1992 and 2009.

Anderson died in September, 2014.
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 Sunday December 03, 2017

Survivors hold a march on Bhopal Gas Tragedy anniversary

Survivors hold a march on Bhopal Gas Tragedy annivrsary

Bhopal: A large number of Bhopal gas tragedy survivors on Saturday marched, holding burning torches in hand, to a memorial of the world's worst industrial disaster on its 33rd anniversary this evening here.

They paid homage to those who died in the tragedy at the memorial statue in front of the now-defunct Union Carbide factory.
 

Leaders of five survivors' organisations, Rashida Bi, Nawab Khan, Balkrishna Namdeo, Satinath Sarange, Rachna Dhingra and Sarit Malviya, addressed the gathering, and demanded adequate compensation, clean-up of hazardous waste lying in the factory premises, rehabilitation of survivors and exemplary punishment for Union Carbide and Dow Chemical (which later took over Union Carbide).

The two-km march from Sindhi Colony to the factory was organised by five NGOs -- Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmachari Sangh, Bhopal Gas Peedit Nirashrit Pensionbhogee Sangharsh Morcha, Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha, Bhopal Group for Information and Action and Children Against Dow /Carbide.

Toxic gas, which leaked from Union Carbide's pesticide factory in Bhopal on the intervening night of December 2-3, 1984 killed over 3,000 people and maimed thousands of others. PTI