Bhopal marks 15th anniversary
Friday, 3 December, 1999, 05:08 GMT, BBC News Online
By Satish Jacob in Delhi

Survivors of the Bhopal gas tragedy in central India have been marking the 15th anniversary of the world's worst industrial disaster.

At least 2,000 people were killed on the night of 2 December in 1984 when a lethal gas leaked from the Union Carbide pesticide plant in Bhopal.

For those who survived, the past 15 years have been an unending tale of pain and suffering.

They may not have died, but they have been visited by one painful affliction after another - lungs that don't work, loss of vision and the birth of deformed babies.

The government has kept promising help, but has delivered very little. Ever since the disaster, the state and central governments have planned to build hospitals, schools and factories for the victims.

The problem is that the authorities have put up buildings that don't function. Hospitals have no equipment, schools no desks and factories no machinery.  These buildings are lying in disuse, while others are still being built 15 years later.

In short, there has been little relief or rehabilitation for the victims.

Union Carbide paid the Indian government 470m in a 1989 settlement which many described as woefully inadequate.

A voluntary group in Bhopal has recently filed a lawsuit in the United States claiming that Union Carbide violated international law and human rights.

Meanwhile, thousands of people have taken part in a candle-light processsion to mourn the dead. The procession ended outside the gates of the now-shut Union Carbide factory.