29 years later, Bhopal gas victims still wait for justice

New Delhi, Dec 2 : It was on the night of Dec 2-3, 1984, that a toxic gas leak from the Union Carbide Corporation's pesticide plant in the Madhya Pradesh capital killed and maimed thousands of people. Nearly three decades later, victims of the Bhopal gas tragedy are still fighting for justice.

The victims have been waging legal battles demanding more compensation, better treatment facilities and removal of hazardous waste from the site, and jobs for affected people.

Various social groups fighting for justice for the victims of one of the world's worst industrial disasters are planning to hold a meeting in Bhopal Tuesday to reiterate their demands.

Most of the victims blame the state and central governments for not paying heed to their needs.

"In the past 29 years, we have been fighting with limited resources we had but nothing substantial has come out yet. Both the state and central governments have been eye-washing the world on the matter," Rachna Dhingra, a member of the Bhopal Group for Information and Action, told IANS.

Dhingra said 25,000 metric tonnes of toxic waste still lies inside the locked Union Carbide plant in Bhopal.

"So far, only 350 tonnes of waste has been removed and the rest continues to lie inside the plant with none having any answer to when will it be removed," she said.

"The Madhya Pradesh government has accepted about the contamination of groundwater in the region but no steps have been taken for its disposal," she said.

The Bhopal gas tragedy killed over 3,500 people in a single night. An estimated 25,000 maimed and diseased have died over two decades.

Balkrishna Namdeo of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Nirashrit Pension Bhogi Sangharsh Samiti said the worst part is that the culprits behind the tragedy are still at large and the government has failed to put them behind bars.

"The people who were responsible for the whole tragedy have gone scot free and our government did not take any action to punish those responsible for taking so many innocent lives," Namdeo told IANS.

Victims say the impact of the tragedy can be seen even today as hundreds of children born in the area even now suffer from disabilities.

"There are no jobs, victims are being given substandard medicines in hospitals and children continue to be born with disabilities of all kinds. We have been fighting and will continue for our rights," Rashida Bi, head of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh, told IANS.

--IANS (Posted on 02-12-2013)

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