November 20th, 2014
At a Press Conference today, five organizations of survivors of the December ’84 Union Carbide disaster in Bhopal claimed historic victory in their recent protest at New Delhi. They said that the Minister of Chemical & Fertilizers had agreed to both their demands on additional compensation for the disaster. The organizations said that they are hopeful of speedy implementation of the decisions taken at their meeting with the Minister and the bureaucrats.
“The Minister has promised full commitment to having scientific data as the basis for assessment of injury caused by Union Carbide. There is abundant evidence in medical research and hospital records to show that well over 90 % people suffered injuries that were neither minor nor temporary. They will now be entitled to Rs. 1 Lakh additional compensation that was denied to them earlier.” said Rashida Bee, of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh.
Five women survivors, Premlata, Vishnu Bai, Kasturi Bai, Shehazadi Bee, Kamla Bai and their supporter, Bhopal Group for Information & Action member, Rachna Dhingra who fasted for four days without water were also present at the press conference jointly addressed by the five organizations.
Balkrishna Namdeo of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Nirashrit Pensionbhogee Sangharsh Morcha said “We are happy to report that in place of the unreliable records being used so far the central Minister in charge of Bhopal has agreed to rely on scientific research and hospital records for assessment of death and injury caused by the disaster. He has assured us that the Curative petition will be amended accordingly and an application for its urgent hearing will be filed in the Supreme Court soon.”
Nawab Khan of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha said that they have been assured that the Ministry would expediously correspond with central and state government agencies seeking scientific data and hospital records.
“We thank the Minister for putting an end to the faulty medical categorization as the basis of assessment of injury caused by the disaster. The unscientific process of categorization with its absurd results is a 27 year old mistake that contributed to denial justice to the survivors.” said Safreen Khan of the Children Against Dow Carbide.
Rachna Dhingra said that “We are sure once the Curative Petition is based on scientific figures, the additional compensation amount payable by Union Carbide and Dow Chemical would go up significantly. This could well mean a minimum of Rs 5 lakhs of additional compensation from the corporations for each gas victim.”
The women fasters, some of who are still recovering from the effects of the water-less fast, said they would repeat their life-threatening act if the occasion demanded.
Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh
Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha
Bhopal Gas Peedit Nirashrit Pensionbhogi Sangharsh Morcha
Satinath Sarangi, Rachna Dhingra,
Bhopal Group for Information and Action
Children Against Dow Carbide