It is not just a case of delayed and inadequate punishment for the accused that has hurt the victims. They are anguished over at least three major issues that have been lingering on for more than two decades.
TOXIC WASTE: Over the past 26 years, the state government has failed to remove a huge quantity of toxic waste lying on the premises of the Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) factory and its solar evaporation pond nearby.
Over a dozen scientific reports, including two of US-based laboratories and the New Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), have found considerable amounts of remains of chemicals and pesticides in the waste.
Yet, the state government is not ready to fully admit to its dangerous nature. No concrete steps have ever been taken to remove or detoxify the waste.
The Supreme Court recently ordered that the 300 tonnes of packed waste should be disposed of at the Pithampur (Dhar district) Transport Storage Disposal Facility but the incinerator there has just begun its trial run and might take time to be commercially functional.
DRINKING WATER: The residents of the gas-hit localities are still awaiting their chance to drink clean piped water. The ground water polluted by the toxic waste has caused health complications for thousands living in the vicinity of the UCIL factory.
Only 35,000 people were included in a scheme to provide potable water to the gas-hit after the Supreme Court directive in 2007. Residents of at least 15 other affected localities were left out. Even places included in the scheme do not get their full supply of potable water.
EMPOWERED COMMISSION: The demand of the gas victims and the NGOs working for them that an empowered commission be set up to oversee comprehensive rehabilitation of the gas victims has not yet been fulfilled.
“Even when the proposal found approval at all levels at the Centre, the Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister wrote to the Prime Minister saying it was not needed,” said Rachna Dhingra of Bhopal Group for Information and Action.