RUBINA KHAN SHAPOO, NDTV, AUGUST 5, 2006
There are still about 20,000 people who were affected in the Bhopal gas tragedy but have neither got compensation nor medical aid.
A PIL for relief for these victims is pending in the Supreme Court. An NGO has now moved another application for urgent medical aid for these victims, some of who may not survive till the court settles their compensation case.
Twenty-six-year-old Sayara was four when the tragedy struck in 1984. Her mother died and she developed a breathing disorder.
Over the years her organs have disintegrated. Doctors say this is what happens to people who have been exposed to MIC, the gas that leaked from the Union Carbide factory.
Sayara now has rheumatic heart disease and weighs just 35 kg.
When Sayara was a child she got Rs 200 a month as compensation. But she moved to Lucknow after marriage and was not in Bhopal to collect the Rs 25,000 that the government gave as final compensation.
Now when the government is planning to give more compensation, this time in lakhs, Sayara still can’t claim it because the government does not consider someone to be a victim if they did not claim the Rs 25,000 earlier.
She cannot even get free treatment at the hospitals that the government has set up for victims.
In most cases the victims were illiterate and just could not keep up with the paperwork.
It may be just too late when Sayara is able to prove that she is indeed a gas tragedy victim in order to get the required medical aid.
Everyday is a battle for survival for Sayara who only wants to live for her two daughters.