Bhopal gas survivors to stop trains on 27th anniversary

The Bhopal gas tragedy survivors Friday said they will blockade all trains passing through the city from Dec 3 — the 27th anniversary of one of the world’s worst industrial disasters.

At a press conference here, five groups of the survivors of the 1984 disaster not only declared their Rail Roko programme, but also congratulated Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan for his assertions against sponsorship of the 2012 London Olympic Games by the Dow Chemical Company.

On Nov 23, Chouhan wrote to the union sports ministry to register protest over the Dow Chemicals’ sponsorship of the London Olympics. Dow took over the Union Carbide after the gas leak in the company’s Bhopal plant spelt tragedy Dec 3, 1984.

The groups also condemned the continued silence of Prime Minister Manomhan Singh and Sports Minister Ajay Maken despite petitions from Indian Olympians and Bhopal survivors’ organisations.

“Not only survivors, but at least 21 Olympians registered their complaints,” rued activist Satinath Sarangi.

The organisations also expressed hope that the chief minister will take steps to ensure that correct figures of deaths and injuries caused by the disaster are presented in the Supreme Court in the ongoing curative petition.

On the night of Dec 2-3, 1984, the leakage of tonnes of methyl isocyanate (MIC) gas killed many people. Government records showed 5,295 deaths, 4,902 with permanent disability, 35,455 with temporary disability and 527,894 with minor injuries.

The groups said that data from the central government-run Indian Council of Medical Research and the state government-run gas relief hospitals show the actual number of exposure-related deaths is close to 25,000 and that the gas victims have been permanently, not temporarily, injured.

They also pointed out that recent research by internationally reputed scientist Srinivasamurthy has established that 80 percent of those with mental illness caused by the disaster have not recovered in the last 27 years.

According to the organisations, the government should be asking for Rs.37,000 crore ($8.1 billion) as compensation for the disaster on the basis of the corrected figures and not Rs.3,000-6,000 crore ($630 million-1.2 billion) as it has currently done.

Source: Deccan Herald

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We believe Dow must finally accept responsibility for Bhopal. Until then, The Bhopal Medical Appeal funds two award-winning clinics in the city. Both offer free, first-class care to victims of the gas disaster or the ongoing water contamination. The survivors have nowhere else left to turn – please help if you can.