Leaders of five groups of survivors of the 1984 Bhopal gas disaster on Thursday condemned what they said was the neglect of the central and state governments towards the curative petition for additional compensation from Union Carbide.
The organisations also launched a postcard campaign, requesting the Supreme Court for an early hearing on the curative petition against Union Carbide and its owner Dow Chemical Company.
“It is now more than five years since the government filed the curative petition and there has been no hearing yet,” Rashida Bee of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh told the media.
Bee, honoured by the President with the “Women Achievers Award” last month, said: “It is indeed shameful that the government has not moved a single petition for urgent hearing on additional compensation.
“Meanwhile, victims of the disaster continue to die battling economic hardship caused due to exposure related ill health and paltry compensation.”
Balkrishna Namdeo of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Nirashrit Pensionbhogi Sangharsh Morcha said the government’s neglect towards the legal rights of the Bhopal victims to adequate compensation was evident in its carelessness regarding figures of injury and death.
“Despite the central minister’s promise made over an year ago, the figures of injury and death in the curative petition remain downplayed to a fraction of the actual damage.” he said.
According to Satinath Sarangi of the Bhopal Group for Information and Action, the government’s submissions arguing for $1.2 additional compensation before the Supreme Court run to 474 pages.
In contrast, Union Carbide and Dow Chemical’s arguments for holding the $470 million settlement of 1989 to be full and final run to 3,657 pages.
More than 3,500 people were killed instantly when poisonous gas leaked from the Union Carbide pesticide plant in Bhopal on the night of December 2-3, 1984. Thousands more have died over the years.
Many more thousands have been maimed or suffer from serious health issues due to their exposure to the gas.