Today, 560,000 claims for disabilities are pending before the courts, none of them addressed so far. Despite the minister’s flip remarks that he suffered no ill-effects from visiting the site, this place of devastation poses a continuing threat to those around it. According to the Centre for Science and Environment, the groundwater in a radius of three kilometres around the plant contains 40 times more pesticide than normal. The water that is used by people in the area contains deadly doses of mercury and chlorinated benzene compounds. In other words, Bhopal is a disaster still in progress. Even the amendments to the Factories Act 1948, made in 1987, which make it mandatory for companies to inform those in the vicinity of potential hazards have not been observed.
This apathetic attitude explains why Warren Anderson, the Union Carbide boss at the time of the leak has been able to live a life of ease far away in the US while the victims struggle from day to day. The government could have, and still can, use its considerable might to reduce the damage in the form of cleaning up the environment and pressuring Dow Chemicals to make some form of restitution. The State has neither pitched in to help the victims with their medical problems nor their legal entitlements. What is this if not licence for fly-by-night corporates to come calling at a future date?