Home Indian Muslim Union Carbide wanted to compensate Bhopal victims but govt. stopped it

Union Carbide wanted to compensate Bhopal victims but govt. stopped it

By Pervez Bari, TwoCircles.net,

Bhopal: Five organizations, working for the Bhopal victims of the December 1984 Union Carbide disaster, have accused the central and state governments of downplaying the damage caused by Union Carbide, the American company in the curative petitions filed in the Supreme Court.

Addressing a joint press conference here on Saturday the organizations demanded that in place of Rs. 3,000-6,000 crores the government should ask the Union Carbide and its current owner Dow Chemical to pay over Rs. 37,000 crores for deaths and personal injuries. The organizations stated that they will start agitations in support of this demand from July 25.

The representatives of five organizations viz. 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 & Action and Children Against Dow Carbide addressed the Press conference.

Satinath Sarangi of Bhopal Group for Information & Action said that the injury categories assigned to the victims were unscientific and without basis and demanded that the government seek at least Rs. 6 lakhs as compensation per victim from the Union Carbide.

The organisations said that recently their organizations have obtained “Top Secret” documents under RTI Act that shows that Union Carbide was proposing a settlement within three months of the disaster. They highlighted the fact that because of its collusion with the American company, the Indian government introduced injury categories and later paid the minimum amount of Rs. 25,000 as compensation to 94 per cent of the victims with lifelong injuries by arbitrarily assigning them temporary injury category.

Rashida Bee of Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh, who is involved with rehabilitation of children of gas affected parents with congenital malformations, said that in the curative petition the government has not asked for any compensation for damages caused to the next generation of victims. She said that studies published in international scientific journals such as the Journal of American Medical Association and the American Journal of Industrial Medicine, show that the poisons of Union Carbide have affected the next generation too.

The organizations stated that the basis of the curative petitions filed by the central and state governments, is that the figures of death and injury presented in 1989, were not correct. However, these figures have not been corrected in the current curative petition and as such the Supreme Court can’t provide justice to the Bhopal victims even if it wants to.

For the last one year they have been writing to the Prime Minister and Group of Ministers on Bhopal on the specific issue of deaths and health damage caused by Union Carbide in Bhopal but they have not received any response so far. ([email protected])