THE GOVERNMENT has finally lent an ear to the victims of Bhopal gas tragedy. But coming after 25 years it's certainly a case of too little too late. The government has accepted "in principle' their demand to set up a commission to carry out medical, economic, social and environmental rehabilitation of the victims. However, dissatisfaction persists as demands of legal action against Union Carbide and Dow Chemicals are yet to be met.

Q&A: Satinath Sarangi Satinath Sarangi of the Bhopal Group for Information and Action tells SREELATHA MENON that activists made a mistake by delaying raising the issue of removal of the 8,000 tonnes of toxic waste from Union Carbide's Bhopal plant. Where were you when the 1984 disaster in Bhopal took place and what brought you to work there among the survivors?

The Bhopal Gas Relief and Rehabilitation Department is talking to the Indian Army and the Delhi-based National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM) to help remove the toxic waste lying in the premises of the closed Union Carbide for the last 24 years.

DEBATE The two issues that remain are whether Dow inherited Union Carbide's liabilities and why the government never cleaned up Bhopal after settling with Carbide Scot Wheeler, Director Communications, Dow Chemicals, Midland, US

Report of the chemical analysis of samples collected from UCIL Plant Site, Bhopal. Details of the GC-MS analysis and mass spectra of identified chemicals.

the pleas of the 50 survivors of the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy, who reached Delhi on March 28, are far from being heard. Travelling over 800 km on foot, they came to the capital to remind the prime

HOPE AND FUTILITY:March 16, 2008. Padyatris rest at a school in Farah, after a 28 kilometer trek from Agra. The marchers are aged between 11 and 82

The story of Bhopal 1984 is one of ignored warnings, inadequate precautions and absolute indifference to human lives. It was a disaster foretold

JUSTICE continues to elude the surviving victims of the Bhopal gas tragedy in 1984 when 40 tonnes of the poisonous gas, methyl isocyanate, leaked from a Union Carbide factory in the town and other toxic chemicals leached into the ground. This injustice haunts not only lakhs of victims of the industrial disaster, one of the world's worst ever, but also Dow Chemicals, the company which bought Union Carbide and thereby acquired continuing public hostility to Union Carbide's shoddy response to the tragedy. Legal and bureaucratic delays in estimating the actual number of those affected by the disaster is partly to blame. A mass delegation of gas victims from Bhopal led by the Bhopal Gas Peedith Mahila Udyog Sanghathan (BGPMUS) arrived in New Delhi on Saturday to present a memorandum to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The gas victims seek support from the Government of India for their application pending before the Supreme Court for fivefold enhancement of the settlement fund, originally pegged at $470 million by a SC order of February 1989. That order estimated the number of the gas tragedy victims to be 1,05,000, including 3,000 dead. However, the Union of India's submission before the Supreme Court on 19.03.2007 has revealed that, as on February 28, 2007, over 5,73,537 victims, (including 5,294 "proven' death cases and 10,007 other death cases, where claims have been converted from death to injury), have been paid compensation. This was no doubt achieved by spreading thin the Settlement Fund meant for 105,000 victims. At the time, the settlement fund was worth Rs 712 crore. Depreciation of the rupee has increased the rupee equivalent amount three-fold. But the number of victims compensated has gone up more than fivefold. And till now, practically no action has been taken for remediation of the poisoning of soil and sub-soil water sources. The cost of these operations has not been determined and no one has come forward to bear these costs. BGPMUS had mobilised over one lakh individual petitions from the gas victims, saying that there is prima facie evidence for reviewing the basis of the settlement.

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