Minister accepts demands, Bhopal gas tragedy survivors call off strike

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Bhopal
  • Updated: Nov 15, 2014 15:57 IST

Gas tragedy survivors called off their five-day-long agitation on Friday late evening after Union chemicals and fertilisers minister Ananth Kumar assured them to consider both their major demands, the organisers said.

Five survivors and an activist were on hunger strike without water since the last five days, demanding additional compensation of Rs 1 lakh for all identified survivors (over 5.69 lakh) and revision of the figures of death and extent of injury in the curative petition filed in the Supreme Court by the Central government.

On Friday evening, the representatives of the five survivors’ organisations met the Kumar for second round of talks.

Later, Satinath Sarangi of Bhopal Group of Information and Action (BGIA), who was part of the delegation meeting the minister, told HT that Kumar assured them that enhanced compensation would be considered on the basis of medical records of the survivors available. Also, the minister assured that the figures in the curative petition would be revised on scientific basis using the records of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the Bhopal Memorial Hospital and Research Centre (BMHRC) and the gas relief hospitals of the state government.

"We were satisfied by his assurance and decided to call off the agitation as of now," Sarangi said.

The five organisations have been highlighting that only 33,672 survivors out of the total 5, 69,081 have been give ex-gratia compensation of Rs 1 lakh, while the other 93% survivors (who had got `25,000 as compensation earlier) were left out.

Also, the figures of death (5,295) and extent of injury caused by the tragedy in the curative petition by the Central government are grossly downplayed. The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) had estimated the number of deaths till 1993 to be 12, 000 and the figure has now risen to around 25,000. Similarly, almost all of 5.69 lakh survivors are yet facing health complications due to the tragedy.

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