From The Hindu
NEW DELHI: Survivors of the December 1984 Union Carbide disaster in Bhopal are on a 787 km march on foot to New Delhi. They are demanding justice and a life of dignity for the people poisoned by American multinational Union Carbide Corporation. The march led by four Bhopal-based organisations will also include people affected by ground water contamination from Union Carbide’s abandoned factory in Bhopal.
The marchers expect to reach New Delhi in the last week of March and have sought a meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Four organisations involved in the march — the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmachari Sangh, Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha, Bhopal Group for Information and Action and Bhopal ki Aawaaz — plan to present their charter of demands to Dr. Singh. Those marching say that depending on the response of the Central Government they may decide to go on an indefinite fast at the end of their march.
The most urgent demand is supply of piped water from the Kolar reservoir to the 16 communities affected by toxic contamination of ground water. They are demanding that the Government set up a National Commission on Bhopal, with the participation of survivor organisations, to provide facilities for health care, economic rehabilitation, medical research and social support.
The survivors are demanding that the Central Government set up of a Special Prosecution cell within the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) with representatives from the Ministry of External Affairs to expedite prosecution of Union Carbide Corporation and its former chairman Warren Anderson and the others accused in the criminal case of the 1984 gas disaster.
They are demanding a scientific assessment of the depth and spread of toxic contamination in and around the Union Carbide factory in Bhopal.
They want Union Carbide’s current owner Dow Chemicals to pay for the clean up of the contaminated areas, and to compensate for the health and environmental damage caused by reckless duping of chemical wastes.
They are also demanding a ban on the Government’s purchase of Dow Chemical’s products, including the toxic pesticide Dursban until it accepts pending liabilities in India.
The survivors have demanded that December 3 be declared a National Day of Mourning for victims of industrial disasters and pollution.
They want the Central Government to include the Bhopal Gas Disaster, and its aftermath, in school and college curricula.