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Bhopal gas survivors to ‘knock’ at PM office


Bhopal gas survivors to ‘knock’ at PM office

Bhopal, Nov 19 : Survivors of the Bhopal Gas Disaster have decided to ‘knock’ at the office door of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the 28th anniversary of the tragedy.

At a press conference on Monday, five organizations of the survivors announced that they would “knock on the Prime Minister’s office door” on December 3, the 28th anniversary of the disaster.

The five organizations are Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh, Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha, Bhopal Gas Peedit Nirashrit Pension Bhogi Sangharsh Morcha, Bhopal Group for Information and Action and Children Against Dow Carbide.

The organizations said that they have invited Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan to join them in their attempt to meet the Prime Minister.

The organizations said that they would raise issues of adequate compensation for all gas victims, punishment of the corporations and its officials and medical, social and environmental rehabilitation of the survivors in their meeting with the Prime Minister.

The organizations have already sent letters to the Prime Minister and Chief Minister and are awaiting responses.

In their letter to the Prime Ministers the organizations have pointed out that they had met with the Chairman of Group of Minister on Bhopal in July this year but there has been no action on the demands raised by them.

In their letter to the Chief Minister the organizations have reminded him of his unkept promise of accompanying a delegation of Bhopal survivor’s representatives to a meeting with the Prime Minister.

They urged the Chief Minister to join them in drawing the attention of the Prime Minister when they visit New Delhi on December 3.

The organizations said that 94% of the people exposed to Union Carbide’s toxic gases have been paid only Rs 25,000 as compensation as the government has wrongly categorized their injuries as temporary in nature.

They pointed out that the curative petition filed by the Government of India supposedly to remedy the wrongful settlement of 1989 itself downplays the deaths and health damages caused by the disaster.

According to them the government should be asking for $8.1 billion (Rs. 44000 crores) in the curative petition instead of $1.2 billion (Rs 5500 crores) to ensure adequate compensation for all gas victims.

The organizations said that both the governments at the centre and the state have failed to protect the legal rights of the victims vis a vis the American Corporations; Union Carbide Corporation and Dow Chemical Company.

They pointed out that recently British Petroleum (BP) was made to pay a fine of $4.5 billion (Rs 22000 Crore) for the death of 11 American citizens in the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

The organizations asked both the governments to take a cue from this and demand rightful compensation for the people killed and maimed by Union Carbide Corporation and Dow Chemical Company.

On the intervening night of Dec 2/3, 1984, the inhabitants of the city of Bhopal became victims of the world’s worst industrial disaster. 40 tonnes of methyl iscocyanate (MIC – a highly volatile toxic chemical) stored at the pesticide plant – owned by Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL), a subsidiary of Union Carbide Corporation (UCC), USA – was contaminated with water and other impurities.

As a result, a mixture of deadly gases escaped from the factory killing several thousands of people and inflicting grievous injuries on at least 500,000 others.

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