Bhopal gas tragedy: 37 years, 37 questions

Bhopal, Oct 31 : NGOs fighting for the cause of the Bhopal gas victims have launched "37 saal par 37 sawaal", a campaign highlighting concerns of the victims ahead of the 37th anniversary of the tragedy.

The campaign will raise 37 questions on issues like treatment and compensation to the victims; their social rehabilitation;

pollution and cleanliess of the abandoned factory premises; punishment to the guilty, among others.

At least 5,295 lives were lost on the intervening night of December 2 and 3 in 1984 when poisonous gas leaked from the

now defunct Union Caribde plant.

Several others are still battling heart, kidney, liver and other health ailments.

For the past 37 years, organisations including the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationary Karamchari Sangh, Bhopal Group for Information and Action, Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha, have been fighting fot the victims's rights.

This campaign aims to put the government in the dock.

The organisations have accused the government of not fulfilling its responsibilities towards the victms after the tragedy.

The victims were neither properly compensated nor any step taken for their employment.

No efforts were made to provide better treatment, while toxic waste accumulated outside the premises also were also not removed, they alleged.

Rachna Dhingra of the Bhopal Group for Information and Action said that according to the government 5,295 people had lost their lives, but why are only 5,000 widows being provided pensions? What about the women, youth, unmarried and and children who also died in the tragedy?

The organisations have further alleged that it has been 37 years of the tragedy but still the justice to the victims and punishment to the guilty are still not in sight.

"This forced us to launch the campaign," they said, adding that the 37 questions will be completely based on reasoning and will also reveal facts through Right To Information.

The groups have also questioned the government for not demanding compensation from Bhopal Union Carbide and Dow Chemical for polluting the soil and water.

The land for the Union Carbide had been given on lease for 99 years by the government and it was to be returned in original condition.

Reports suggest that there is a large number of toxic chemicals in the plant premises.

Ground water is also polluted but the government has not demanded compensation.

The government is yet to respond to ths charges.



Source: IANS