32 years after the Bhopal gas tragedy, victims await justice

Many organizations are still fighting for justice for the Bhopal tragedy victims.

32 years after the Bhopal gas tragedy, victims await justice

It is 2016, thirty two years after the Bhopal gas tragedy, people are still suffering due to the after-effects of the tragedy. After the incident, more than one lakh people, who inhaled the poisonous gas suffered serious ailments for the rest of their lives.

Victims has not yet get justice till now. Many organizations that have been fighting for justice for the Bhopal tragedy victims.

The former Union Carbide CEO Warren Anderson had died at the age of 92 at a nursing home in the US in September 2014. According to HT report, this October, the district magistrate’s court ruled that then Bhopal collector Moti Singh and superintendent of police in 1984, Swaraj Puri, should be questioned for letting Anderson leave India.

The heart wrenching incident happened on the intervening night of December 2 and 3 in 1984 at the Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) pesticide plant in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. Over 500,000 people were exposed to methyl isocyanate (MIC) gas and other chemicals. The toxic substance made its way into and around the shanty towns located near the plant.

The official immediate death toll was 2, 259. Madhya Pradesh government later confirmed a total of 3,787 deaths related to the gas release.A government affidavit in 2006 stated that the leak caused 558,125 injuries, including 38,478 temporary partial injuries and approximately 3,900 severely and permanently disabling injuries. Others estimate that 8,000 died within two weeks, and another 8,000 or more have since died from gas-related diseases.

Even after many years the real cause of the disaster remains under debate. Government and local activists argue that slack management and deferred maintenance created a situation where routine pipe maintenance caused a backflow of water into a MIC tank triggering the disaster. Union Carbide Corporation (UCC) contends water entered the tank through an act of sabotage.

The owner of the factory, UCIL, was majority owned by UCC, with Indian Government-controlled banks and the Indian public holding a 49.1 percent stake. In 1989, UCC paid $470m ($907m in 2014 dollars) to settle litigation stemming from the disaster. In 1994, UCC sold its stake in UCIL to Eveready Industries India Limited (EIIL), which subsequently merged with McLeod Russel (India) Ltd. Eveready ended clean-up on the site in 1998, when it terminated its 99-year lease and turned over control of the site to the state government of Madhya Pradesh. Dow Chemical Company purchased UCC in 2001, seventeen years after the disaster.