Bhopal gas victims urge MP govt to intervene in US courts’ Nov 28 deadline

By TCN News,

Bhopal: Drawing attention to the November 28 deadline, five organizations fighting for the rights of the survivors of Bhopal gas disaster have called upon the state and the central governments to urgently respond to the juridical issues concerning the on-going contamination of soil and groundwater.

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The five civil society groups have said the last date of intervention by Madhya Pradesh government in the suit for environmental remediation in Bhopal by Union Carbide Corporation, USA, pending in the US Federal Court is November 28, just four days away.

On the intervening night of Dec 2-3, 1984, a toxic gas leak from the Union Carbide Corporation’s pesticide plant in this Madhya Pradesh capital had killed and affected thousands of people. Around 3,000 people were killed instantly and many others suffered a lingering death over the years. It left victims injured and maimed, with many suffering lung cancer, kidney and liver failure and eye disorders after coming into contact with toxic methyl isocyanate (MIC) gas.

Balkrishna Namdeo of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Nirashrit Pension Bhogi Sangharsh Morcha said, “On 30th July, Justice Keenan in the Southern District Court of New York dismissed the matter concerning contamination of soil and ground water in and around the Union Carbide factory (in Bhopal). The 17 plaintiffs from Bhopal represented by US based attorneys – EarthRights International, Sharma & Deyoung LLP, and the Law Offices of Curtis V Trinko – have appealed against the unjust order before the second circuit court of appeals.

“The state government was served notice by the US court in early March 2014 but despite the Chief Minister’s declaration in the Assembly in 2010, the government made no efforts to present the case for clean-up of the Union Carbide factory site and its surroundings till the matter was dismissed,” said Rachna Dhingra from the Bhopal Group for Information & Action, a solidarity organization.

“The state government through its lawyers only has till November 28 before the US court during the appeal process and make Union Carbide pay for its reckless dumping of hazardous wastes,” a release from the five organizations quoted her.

Rashida Bee of Bhopal Gas Peedit Stationary Mahila Karmchari Sangh said they had written to the office of Chief Secretary of Madhya Pradesh on February 4 and to the office of Chief Minister on July 30, 2014 urging the Madhya Pradesh Government to immediately intervene in this urgent matter. She said another set of reminders were sent to all officials concerned and ministries in November but they have not heard back from anyone.

We are hopeful that the government of Madhya Pradesh through Government of India will listen to us in this year of the 30th anniversary of the disaster and intervene to seek money towards cleanup and remediation from Union Carbide in the litigation pending in the US courts, said Safreen Khan of Children Against Dow-Carbide.


Bhopal – Three decades of Struggle