We are happy to note that the GoM has decided to:
1.File curative petitions against the faulty Feb 1989 and Sep 1996 Supreme Court orders.
2.File a review petition for enhancement of sentences against the accused Indian officials of Union Carbide.
3.Set up a regional center of Indian Council of Medical Research and resumption of research on health impacts of toxic exposure.
4.Renew efforts to file request for extradition of Warren Anderson.
5.Take over the Bhopal Memorial Hospital & Research Center by the central government.
6.Consider Legal action against Dow Chemical’s crimes of bribery, selling of absconder Union Carbide’s intellectual property to Reliance Petroleum Limited, filling of appropriate applications before High Court to expeditiously decide the question of liability and erection of plant at Dahej, Gujarat without necessary permission.
7.Carry out peer Review of NEERI, NGRI & IICT reports on depth and spread of contamination by government scientist and selected NGO’s
After reviewing the minutes of GOM meeting, we find that GOM has paid insufficient attention to several critical issues and has based its recommendations on insufficient information. The following issues have been inappropriately addressed and need to be seriously reviewed by the Group of Ministers
Enhanced compensation recommended by the Group of Ministers will go to less than 8% of people known to be exposed to Union Carbide’s toxic gases. This is because the GoM’s decision on compensation is based on the notoriously flawed system of damage assessment that was designed to downplay and diminish the death and injury caused by Union Carbide Corporation. The GoM has denied any additional compensation to 532,033 [92%] of survivors who have so far received a paltry sum of Rs. 25, 000 for lifelong injuries.
The GoM should:
1a. Provide equal compensation to all officially acknowledged claimants.
1b. Review death claims for which compensation was wrongfully denied and include exposure related deaths after 1997.
1c. Demand adequate compensation from Union Carbide Corporation, USA after filing the Curative Petition against the settlement orders of 1989 and 1991.
2 Medical Care & Rehabiliation
The Group of Ministers has gone back on its June 2008 decision to set up an Empowered Commission on Bhopal to plan, implement & oversee rehabilitation. Instead, it has sanctioned additional Rs. 844 crores to the Madhya Pradesh Government for medical, economic, social, and environmental rehabilitation. Earlier Ministry of Chemicals & Fertilizers and the Planning Commission have passed strongly adverse comments on Government of Madhya Pradesh’ Action Plan and have in fact recommended setting up of the Empowered Commission.
GOM has also decided that Bhopal Memorial Hospital Trust will be taken over and run by the central government as a super-specialty and research hospital, but it needs to ensure that this super specialty hospital is able to administer proper medical care to the victims.
The GoM should
2a. Set up Empowered Commission for long term medical care of survivors of the disaster and those exposed to contaminated ground water and the children of these exposed persons.
2b. People exposed to contaminated water must immediately receive facilities for free medical care at hospitals meant for survivors of the gas disaster.
2c. Ensure participation of survivors’ organizations in the running of the Bhopal Memorial Hospital & Research Centre.
The Group of Ministers has also failed to recommend any action to make Dow Chemical pay for the clean up of the thousands of tonnes of hazardous waste and extensive damage to human health caused by contamination of ground water. Dow Chemical has refused to accept jurisdiction of the Madhya Pradesh High Court for the last six years. Despite this, the Group of Ministers has not made any recommendation towards making Dow Chemical answerable to Indian courts, even as the company continues to do business in India.
GoM also did not recommend any action for extraditing the authorized representatives of Union Carbide Corporation, USA and Union Carbide Eastern Inc., Hong Kong that is now reincarnated as Union Carbide Asia Pacific Inc. and Union Carbide Asia Ltd.
The GoM should
3a. Take legal action against Dow Chemical Company, USA’s Indian subsidiaries so as to make it pay for clean up of toxic contamination and for health and environmental damages.
3b. Government of India must participate in the ongoing litigation against Union Carbide and Warren Anderson in the US Federal Court in New York on the issue of contamination.
3c. Central and all state governments must stop purchasing products made by Union Carbide, Dow Chemicals and Eveready Industries India Ltd.
3d. Extradite authorized representatives of Union Carbide Corporation, USA, Union Carbide Asia, Hong Kong and Union Carbide Asia Pacific, Hong Kong who are absconding from the criminal case along with Warren Anderson.
4. Clean up of toxic waste & Site Remediation
The GoM approved an amount of Rs 310 crores by the central government towards removal of toxic waste. The immediate plans for this include incineration of 350MT of Union Carbide waste in a facility that blatantly violates CPCB guidelines and is being opposed by the local residents as well as industry association. GoM’s unilateral decision on dismantling of the MIC & Sevin plant structures is against the survivors demand of maintain the plant structures as part of the memorial.
The GoM has chosen not to pay attention to the offer made by the European Union to provide technical & financial assistance for the assessment of the depth and spread of contamination. This is a critical step for assessment of the damages for which Dow Chemical is liable.
The GoM should
4a Ensure proper assessment of depth and spread of contamination with financial and technical assistance offered by the European Union.
4b. Scrap plans of incineration of Union Carbide’s hazardous waste in India.
4c. Scrap plans of dismantling the plant structures. Instead conserve it as part of a memorial to the disaster. Include material on the Bhopal gas disaster in school and college text books.
We hope that you will consider our views favorably. We would very much appreciate if Group of Ministers could allow us 30 minutes to give a detailed & factual presentation on all the issues raised above. Please do not hesitate to ask for any information or clarification that you may need.
Children Against Dow-Carbide
Bhopal Gas Peedit Nirashrit Pension Bhogi Sangharsh Morcha
Rashida Bee, Champa Devi Shukla
Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh
Syed M Irfan
Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha
Rachna Dhingra, Satinath Sarangi
Bhopal Group for Information and Action