Bhopal in horror over Dow’s return

Priyanka Bhattacharya, NDTV, April 30, 2008
Two decades ago, Bhopal saw one of the worst industrial disasters of the world when the deadly Methyl Isocyanate (MIC) gas leaked from the Dow Chemicals plant.
Thousands died and many more were disabled for life. Now, even after 24 years, the tragedy continues for the residents of Bhopal because even now, several children are born disabled – a direct fallout of the gas tragedy.
So now, a group of victims and activists from Bhopal are in Delhi to protest against the return of Dow, the owner of Union carbide.
People like Nida were not even born when the gas tragedy struck Bhopal 24 years ago. But this six-month-old is still paying the price.
These are the second generation victims of one of the most horrific chemical disasters of the world.
”The doctors had already told us that even years later, our children could be disabled at birth,” says Kishwar Jahan, a Bhopal gas tragedy survivor.
The tragedy was deadly in the sense that it brought waves of problems and diseases.
After the tragedy, came the problem of poisoned water leading to another wave of disabilities.
Despite a Supreme Court ruling, many areas in Bhopal are still not supplied safe drinking water.
Many other promises about treatment and compensation are still undelivered.
For residents of Bhopal, the first blow came in 1984 with the gas tragedy. The second blow came when their children were born with abnormalities taking the effects of gas to second generation.
And the third, and perhaps most disturbing blow comes now when their arch nemesis, Dow, owner of union carbide, returns to India.
”The government has invited Dow to come into India without fulfilling their responsibilities towards the people of Bhopal,” says Sathinath Sarangi from Bhopal group for Information and Action.
Now the victims want to put more pressure on the government and hope it will be enough to bring their fight back into the spotlight.

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