India: More than 2 decades post-Bhopal, Govt still selling Union Carbide's victims way short Print E-mail
 Tuesday April 11 2006

Bhopal gas tragedy survivors step up agitation

Staff Correspondent

Six persons to go on indefinite hunger-strike from today

Cabinet's approval for compensation does not address present demands, say agitators Activists cite study putting down at least 350 deaths annually to gas-related ailments

NEW DELHI: Over 400 survivors of the Bhopal gas disaster and their sympathisers organised a huge "die in" here on Monday, covering themselves in white shrouds and lying on the road while symbolic figures of death danced around the "corpses." The gas victims and their sympathisers, who have been demonstrating here for the last fifteen days, announced that six persons (three survivors and three sympathisers) would go on an indefinite hunger-strike from Tuesday.

Demonstrators said that though the Ministry of Chemicals was sympathetic to their demands, it was up to the Prime Minister to clear any decision related to the Bhopal victims.


Wednesday April 12 2006

Gas victims seek national panel

DH News Service New Delhi:

The victims of Bhopal gas tragedy who began indefinite hunger strike from Tuesday wanted immediate establishment of a national commission on Bhopal.

As many as 46 people affected by the world’s worst industrial disaster are in the capital to pressurise the Government to yield to their demands.

Addressing a press conference here, Mr Satinath Sarangi who founded a clinic for the affected victims in Bhopal said, “The Centre should set up an inter-ministerial coordinating agency with necessary authority and funds to provide facilities like health care, medical research, social and economic rehabilitation of the people poisoned by Union Carbide and Dow Chemicals for the next 30 years.”

He demanded that the agency be given Rs 50 crore per year. The gas victims who are intensifying their agitation have met UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Mr Ramvilas Paswan, Mr Jairam Ramesh and others.

On their meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Mr Sarangi was optimistic and said, “All our demands will be met in the coming days as international pressure builds up.”

The prime minister has declined to meet the Bhopal delegation despite the fact that a meeting had been requested more than 45 days ago.

Barring the Ministry of Chemicals, which was positive on all six demands of the survivors, the signals from the Government indicate that it is unwilling to hold the company accountable for fear of angering US investors and the Government.

Special task force

However, Dow Chemical CEO Andrew Liveris has had no trouble getting audience with the prime minister, who met him for lunch on two occasions on September 15 in New York, and on March 2, 2006 in New Delhi when Liveris had accompanied the Bush delegation.

The prime minister has instructed the setting up of a special task force in the Planning Commission to facilitate investments in two petrochemical complexes in Vizag and Haldia by Dow Chemical and DuPont.

The victims demanded that the Centre should allot at least Rs 10 crore to the Madhya Pradesh Government for the construction of pipeline and other infrastructure to deliver clean water from Kolar reservoir.

Champa Devi Shukla, one of those fighting for the cause of Bhopal victims, wanted a special cell in Central Bureau of Investigation for speedy prosecution of Union Carbide Corporation, payments from Dow Chemical Company for the clean up of toxic contamination and creation of memorial to the disaster.