Five organisations, working for rights of the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy’s survivors, today demanded Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s intervention for ensuring adequate compensation to all victims.
The organisations said in view of the September 2 hearing — at the Supreme Court — of a curative petition for compensation, Mr Chouhan must direct officials to revise figures of disaster-related injuries and fatalities in the state regime’s plea, a release said.
They also demanded that the Chief Minister should ensure that the Centre disburses additional compensation of Rs 2 lakh to each victim. The organisations dashed off a missive today to Mr Chouhan on this matter affecting over five lakh victims.
“Following the June 2010 directives of the Group of Ministers on Bhopal, less than 50,000 victims received additional compensation. Denial of additional compensation to about 5.26 lakh claimants was based on the Government’s arbitrary stance that they suffered only temporary injury,” the Bhopal Gas Peedit Nirashrit Pension Bhogi Sangharsh Morcha’s Balkrishna Namdeo said.
“In his letter dated December 8, 2001 to the then Premier, the Chief Minister stated that several victims were wrongfully denied additional compensation by the Centre,” the Bhopal Group for Information and Action’s Satinath Sadangi said.
Five days before that, on the disaster’s 27th anniversary, Mr Chouhan provided us a written assurance that he would accompany us to the Prime Minister and urge additional compensation for all victims, Mr Sarangi said, adding that the Chief Minister must keep his promise.
The Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha’s Nawab Khan said that survivors were looking forward to the hearing of the curative petition that is pending for three years.
“Unless accurate figures of injuries and deaths are presented by the state and central regimes, the judges will be unable to do justice as per the survivors’ expectations,” he felt. The Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh’s Rashida Bi pointed out that the state government sought compensation for only 5,295 fatalities in the curative petition whereas in a criminal matter before the Supreme Court the regime presented a figure of 15,342 deaths.
“Both the state and central governments arbitrarily assumed over 90 per cent of the survivors to be temporarily injured by exposure to the gas whereas Union Carbide’s own document states that damage to due to methyl isocyanate exposure is permanent,” she said.
“The Chief Minister must direct officials to revise figures of injuries and deaths based on hospital records and research data so that the curative petition is amended well before September 2.