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29 years on, justice still a dream for Bhopal gas tragedy victims
Hope soon to be elected government in Madhya Pradesh will alleviate their sufferings
Sunday December 1, 2013 8:02 PM, Pervez Bari, ummid.com

The 3rd of December this year, which is the 29th Anniversary of the Bhopal gas tragedy, world's worst industrial disaster, is round the corner and the victims and survivors of this catastrophe along with the NGOs working for their welfare have put forth their long pending list of demands so that they could get permanent relief from pain and agony which has been haunting them incessantly since the incident occurred.

Addressing a Press Conference on Saturday leaders of five organizations of the survivors expressed hope that the soon to be elected government in Madhya Pradesh, results of the legislative assembly elections which were held on November 25 last are to be announced on December 8th, as well as the governments of USA and India would take action to end their woes and sufferings before it enters the fourth decade.

Ms Rashida Bi, president of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh said that the US government must acknowledge and express regret for financing, through its EXIM Bank, the construction of the hazardously designed plant that caused the world's worst industrial disaster.

She said that the US government must contribute to a closure of the disaster by ensuring that Union Carbide Corporation and its officials cease to abscond from Indian courts, provide additional compensation and clean up toxic contamination in Bhopal.

Balkrishna Namdeo, president of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Nirashrit Pensionbhogi Sangharsh Morcha, demanded that Dow Chemical must set aside sufficient funds for clean up of contaminated soil and ground water in and around the abandoned Union Carbide's pesticide factory and for health monitoring of the affected population.

"Union Carbide must cease to abscond from justice and answer charges of manslaughter and grievous assault in the criminal case pending before the Bhopal District Court", he added.

Nawab Khan of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha demanded that the government of India make corrections in the figures of deaths and injuries caused by the disaster in the curative petition before the Supreme Court of India for additional compensation from Dow Chemical and Union Carbide.

He also called upon the central government to set up an Empowered Commission on Bhopal with adequate funds, authority and participation of survivors' representatives for medical, social, economic and environmental rehabilitation in Bhopal.

"A new government will be formed in the state two weeks from now. Our deepest wish is that this government makes a new beginning to end the ongoing disasters in Bhopal. We are calling for a closure before the disasters enter the fourth decade", said Ms Safreen Khan from Children Against Dow Carbide.

The order on summoning Dow Chemicals to the Bhopal District Court, official acknowledgement of contamination of ground water in 22 communities, Supreme Court's decision on regularization of employment of 50 women survivors after their 23 year long battle, near completion of piped water supply to contaminated communities, production of a commonly agreed Action Plan for remediation of the contaminated areas, issuing of notices by the Supreme Court regarding unethical clinical trials on survivors and punishment of corrupt medical research workers are some of the good things that have happened in 2013 according to Satinath Sarangi, a member of the Bhopal Group for Information and Action.

On the intervening night of December 2-3, 1984 Union Carbide pesticide manufacturing factory had spewed poisonous Methyl Iso-cyanate gas whereby 3000 people had perished virtually instantly and over the years more than 250,00 have kissed death and the sad saga is still continuing uninterruptedly.

About half a million are suffering from the side effects of the poisonous gas and several thousand people have been maimed for life. (pervezbari@eth.net)



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