At a press conference today 5 Bhopal based organizations active among the survivors of Union Carbide disaster and those exposed to the ground water contamination announced that they will launch their indefinite agitation in New Delhi from July 26th. The indefinite dharna at Jantar Mantar to pressure the central government on issues of compensation, health care & rehabilitation, Legal Action against Union Carbide & Dow Chemical & Hazardous waste clean up.
“The arbitrary recommendations of the Group of Minister (GoM) will deny compensation to 93% of those that the government has certified as those who have suffered gas exposure. Because of GoM’s hasty decision 91% of people in J.P. Nagar community opposite Union Carbide factory who have only received Rs 25,000 as compensation so far will receive no additional sum. We simply cannot allow this and will not rest till all gas victims receive additional compensation. ,” says Rashida Bee of Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh. The organizations also plan to hold the government to its promise to file a curative petition against the Supreme Court’s 1989 judgment on the settlement, in order to extract more compensation from Union Carbide Corporation-USA.
Satinath Sarangi of Bhopal Group for Information & Action charged the central government of going back on its promise of setting up of an empowered commission for long term medical care & rehabilitation of Bhopal victims. “In sanctioning over Rs. 500 crores to the Madhya Pradesh government the central government has chosen to ignore rampant misutilization & misappropriation, non implementation of vital projects & moreover the adverse comments of its ministries & planning commission. We will continue to fight for setting up of the empowered commission that the Prime Minister had promised us in 2008,” he said.
The organizations expressed satisfaction that the government has filed an application for Rs 350 crores from Dow Chemical for clean up of hazardous waste. If the government is serious about making the Polluter pay, it should become a party in the ongoing litigation in the US federal court on the issue of contamination. “We also want the government to move on the extradition of all foreign accused absconding for 18 years. Along with Anderson the government needs to bring the authorized representatives of Union Carbide Corporation-USA, Union Carbide Asia, Hong Kong and Union Carbide Asia Pacific, Hong Kong said Mr Balkrishan Namdeo of Bhopal Gas Peedit Nirashrit Pension Bhogi Sangharsh Morcha.
Syed M. Irfan of Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha expressed his dismay over the lack of response on the part of the central government with regard to offer of financial & technical assistance of European Union for the scientific assessment of depth & spread of the poisons in and around the Bhopal factory. He said that such an assessment is essential to decide on the best means of disposal and the damage payable by Dow Chemical. He said that the survivors of Bhopal and residents around the Pithampur incinerator will not allow the government to transport & incinerate the hazardous waste from Union Carbide.
“We are also demanding the government scrap plans of dismantling the plant structure in the abandoned Union Carbide factory. How can they do it? It is part of world history. Instead of bringing it down the government must ensure that it is no longer poisonous and make them a part of the memorial. Also we will ask for government initiative in including material on the Bhopal disaster in school and college text books.
Children Against Dow-Carbide
Bhopal Gas Peedit Nirashrit Pension Bhogi Sangharsh Morcha
Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh
Syed M. Irfan
Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha
Satinath Saragni & Rachna Dhingra
Bhopal Group for Information & Action