10 October 2022
Officials of the ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers today assured leaders of organizations of survivors of the Bhopal gas disaster that the government of India will continue to pursue the Curative Petition for additional compensations coming up for hearing in the Supreme Court tomorrow. The Curative Petition filed in 2010 by the UPA government seeks 96 billion rupees as additional compensation for the disaster from Union Carbide and its owner Dow Chemical.
Earlier 50 women survivors demonstrated before Nirman Bhavan expressing their apprehension that the Indian government would withdraw from the petition. They submitted a legal representation addressed to the Minister of Chemicals & Fertilizers, which is the nodal ministry for matters concerning the aftermath of the 1984 Bhopal gas disaster. The Bhopal survivors warned that “Any withdrawal of the curative petition, without due regard to the victims’ stand on the issue, will be in contravention of the Central Government’s statutory & constitutional duty.”
“A dozen years ago the whole of India was in uproar at the injustice caused to Bhopal survivors by the Government of India, Union Carbide and Dow Chemical,” said Rashida Bee, Goldman Environmental Prize awardee and President of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh. “The government recognised that compensation granted to Bhopal survivors was grossly inadequate, so filed a petition in the Supreme Court to ‘cure’ it, but in all the years since no government has lifted one finger to support this petition.”
“Today the officials at the Ministry have assured us that tomorrow at the hearing in the Supreme Court the government will continue to pursue the case for additional compensation. We will be at the hearing tomorrow to see for ourselves.” said Rachna Dhingra of the Bhopal Group for Information & Action.
Said Balkrishna Namdeo of Bhopal Gas Peedit Nisrashrit Pension Bhogee Sangharsh Morcha, “As co-petitioners with the Indian government in this matter we have presented reams of evidence from official agencies to show that to compensate for the true scale of injuries, illnesses, disability and deaths suffered in Bhopal requires 646 billion rupees, not 96 billion, from Union Carbide and Dow Chemical. The government has had 12 years to correct the figures in order that the judges are not misled about the actual damage suffered by survivors,.”
“Among the loudest voices criticising the UPA Government in 2010 over Bhopal were leaders of the current government, but since taking power they have been nowhere to be seen. Unless the figures of death and extent of injury are corrected immediately, the Curative Petition will heap more injustice on the Bhopal survivors,’ said Nawab Khan of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha.
Nousheen Khan of Children Against Dow-Carbide pointed to evidence presented by the co-petitioners that the settlement constitutes a fraud on India’s courts, and a violation of natural justice. “Union Carbide knew that injuries from breathing MIC gas would be major and residual, but they got India to accept a scheme that prioritised temporary and minor injuries. Every day we see the health damage done to an entire generation born after the disaster, yet the government does not recognise even one of our damaged children to be a victim of this criminal corporation.”
Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh
Nasreen Bee & Shezadi Bee
Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Pursh Sangarsh Morcha
Bhopal Gas Peedit Nirashrit Pensionbhogi Sangarsh Morcha
Bhopal Group for Information & Action
Children Against Dow-Carbide