The victims of the world's worst industrial disaster, the Bhopal Gas Tragedy of 1984, continue to battle the deadly diseases due to the side-affects of the toxic gas leaked from the pesticide plant 23 years ago.
On the night of December 2, 1984, tonnes of a toxic gas leaked from the pesticide plant owned by Union Carbide, killing 3,800 people almost immediately. Thousands more sustained severe afflictions.
"The deaths continue even today. A fortnight back, one person, Idris, who was being treated for illness sustained after the gas tragedy, died. There's a whole new generation, the offspring of the gas-hit, who are suffering the horrendous side effects of the disaster, from deep psychiatric disorders to stunted growth. Almost 25,000 people living near the Carbide factory are forced to drink poisonous water even now," said Satya Narayan Sarangi, coordinator of Bhopal Group for Information and Action.
Victims of the worst tragedy are leading pitiable lives due to lack of adequate compensation to the deserving.
"The afflictions after the tragedy have hit me so badly that I am unable to work and practically no money to bring up my children. There is no succour from the government in these times of soaring prices," said Sushila Mishra, a gas tragedy victim.
Meanwhile, activists say that the court should reconsider its decision rejecting the petitions filed seeking enhanced compensation to gas victims.
"We have demanded that the court should reconsider the petition it rejected on May 3, 2007, and the affected should get adequate compensation," said Abdul Jabbar, coordinator of the Women Gas Tragedy Victims Organisation, an NGO.
Union Carbide in 1984 accepted moral responsibility for the tragedy and established a 100 million dollars charitable trust fund to build a hospital for victims. Later, the Union Carbide was taken over by the Dow Chemicals.
Union Carbide India Ltd. began the cleanup work at the site after the incident, spending some 2 million dollars.
The Union Carbide, after a protracted legal battle, paid 470 million dollars to the Indian government in a settlement reached in 1989. The victims, on an average, received 25,000 rupees in case of illness and 100,000 rupees in case of a death in the family.