BHOPAL GAS Peedit Mahila Udyog Sangthan (BGPMUS) convener Abdul Jabbar on Tuesday accused Minister for Gas Relief Babulal Gaur and MLA Umashankar Gupta of misleading residents of Bhopal by raising the issue of gas compensation for remaining 20 City wards.
He said it was a ploy to distract their attention from other pressing problems being faced by the gas victims. Addressing a press conference, Jabbar said ever since the Supreme Court had ordered disbursement of interim relief of Rs 200 per month to gas victims in 1990 on a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by the BGPMUS, residents of 20 wards are being assured of compensation by successive BJP candidates for the Lok Sabha and the Assembly election. They include Babulal Gaur, Sushil Chandra Verma, Uma Bharti, Kailash Joshi and Umashankar Gupta.
The issue is raised only during elections and put on the back burner after elections, he said. Jabbar alleged that all leaders, who have been raising the issue of compensation for the remaining 20 wards according to their own convenience, now, had kept quiet all the while when battle was being fought in the courts and streets for adequate compensation to gas victims.
None of them had opposed the agreement of Union Government with Union Carbide for 470 million dollar as compensation to gas victims and when NGOs opposed the agreement, the then Chief Minister had dubbed them as ‘agents’ of Union Carbide.
All claim suits, Jabbar said, irrespective of the locality one lived in were heard by the claim courts. And another chance was given to persons who had not filed their claim in 1996.
He said demand for compensation to all the residents of Bhopal amounted to questioning the judicial process adopted for deciding compensation for the gas victims.
Besides, a writ petition filed by BJP MP from Bhopal Kailash Joshi seeking compensation to residents of the remaining 20 wards was also rejected by the Supreme Court.
But, the BJP leaders, including Gas Relief Minister Babulal Gaur are keeping the issue alive to divert people’s attention from other pressing issues concerning gas victims, including comprehensive rehabilitation.
The performance of successive governments has been dismal in this regard. The Government has not even been serious to providing clean drinking water to people in the gas-affected localities despite the SC directives and repeated reminders from the NGOs, he added.