Bhopal : Methyl Iso Cyanate (MIC), Warren Anderson, Union carbide, gas leakage, 1984, December 2-3 midnight, litigation, after effects — Bhopal wakes up on the morning of December the third, as 31 calendar years have rolled by, some waiting, some reviving, and a few still sheathed under the blanket of side effects of a tragedy, which resulted in loss of thousands of lives, leaving its impact still ticking within many generations thereafter.
Bhopal gas tragedy, world’s biggest industrial disaster, the first unfortunate event which brought Bhopal into the world recognition platform, albeit in an infamous connotation. The intervening night of December 2nd, moving into the cusp of an early break of dawn on the first sunlight hour of December 3rd, revisited by state citizens yesterday evening, when hundreds of people staged a march for remembering the anniversary, the 31st anniv of a disaster when tonnes of toxic gas leaked from the Carbide pesticide plant in Bhopal, killing thousands.
Hundreds of Bhopal residents marched here on the eve of 1984 Gas Tragedy Anniversary. Folks walked from Sindhi Colony to the defunct Union Carbide factory. The march, which was a combined effort of locals along with many NGOs serving for the cause of victims and their kith and kin, assembled outside the death factory. Participants took an oath outside the Union Carbide factory and vowed to to continue the struggle for justice and for more compensation.
Indian government filed a curative petition in the Supreme Court on December 3, 2010, seeking $1.2 billion in additional compensation from the Union Carbide and its (present) owner, Dow Chemical Company. NGOs however expressed concern over inaction on this account and opined that unfortunately, there has been just one hearing on the petition in the last five years and the government has not moved a single application for urgent hearing. They also claim that the curative petition downplays the damage caused by the disaster and seeks too little compensation.
The main obstruction in securing justice for survivors is believed to be due to continuing collusion between Government of India and the two American corporations – Union Carbide and Dow Chemical Company. NGOs feel that In 1985 the Indian government asked for $3.3 billion as compensation, which would be about $7 billion today. Union Carbide has paid only $470 million; the least Indian government should be asking for is 6.5 billion dollars.
Although Warren Anderson, the then CEO of death factory (read Union Carbide), wanted in the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy is dead. But, the gas affected areas in Bhopal are still bereft of basic amenities. The tragedy not only killed thousands of people that night but also left its mark on the future generations. People even today feel the ill-effects and many are born with physical disabilities. The disaster left thousands of people homeless, injured and physically defunct. Union Carbide paid USD 470 million in 1989 to the Indian government to settle the litigation. A paltry settlement, 31 years and counting……