Bhopal Gas victims demand separate commission to address their plight

May 21st, 2008 - 6:43 pm ICT by admin  

Manmohan Singh

New Delhi , May 21 (ANI): After failing to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for two months, victims of the 1984 Bhopas Tragedy staged a demonstration outside his 7, Race Course Road residence here today, and demanded the creation of a separate commission to look into their plight.

“It has been two months now, and we have not been able to meet the Prime Minister as yet. We want the government to create a separate commission to look into the plight of the Bhopal victims, to get clean drinking water, job opportunities, social security schemes for the kins, said Muhammad Shafiq, one of the protesters

Over 3,500 people died in the days and weeks after toxic fumes spewed out of a pesticide plant located on the outskirts of Bhopal on the night of December 2, 1984.

Nearly 15,000 people have reportedly died from cancer and other diseases since.

Activists put the toll at 33,000 and say toxins from thousands of tons of chemicals lying in and around the closed Union Carbide pesticide plant have seeped into the ground water.

In 1984, Union Carbide accepted moral responsibility for the tragedy and established a 100 million dollar charitable trust fund to build a hospital for the victims. The company was later taken over by Dow Chemicals but not before it paid 470 million dollars to the Indian Government in 1989 as settlement.

The victims, on an average, received 25,000 rupees in case of illness and 100,000 rupees in case of a death in the family.

The Michigan-based Dow Chemicals says it is not responsible for the clean up, as it never owned or operated the plant. The Madhya Pradesh government now owns the abandoned plant. (ANI)

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