Bhopal, Hundreds of people, including survivors of the Bhopal gas leak disaster, on Wednesday marched here with torches on the eve of the 31st anniversary of the tragedy that claimed thousands of lives.
The rally ended at the statue of the Bhopal Mother opposite the abandoned factory, where members paid homage to those killed in the disaster.
Later, members of five organisations of survivors of the Union Carbide gas leak collectively took an oath to continue with the battle for punishment of the guilty corporations and for additional compensation for the victims.
The organisations said the Indian government had filed a curative petition in the Supreme Court on December 3, 2010, seeking $1.2 billion as additional compensation from Union Carbide and its owner The Dow Chemical Company for the disaster.
According to them, in the past five years there has been just one hearing on the curative petition and the government has not moved a single application for urgent hearing on the matter.
The organisations also charged that the curative petition by the Indian government downplays the damage caused by the disaster and seeks too little compensation.
“In 1985, the Indian government asked for $3.3 billion as compensation that would be about $7 billion today. Union Carbide has paid only $470 million, the least the government should be asking for is $6.5 billion. But the curative petition only asks for $1.2 billion,” said Rashida Bee of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh.
Nawab Khan, president of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha, added that the figures published by the Madhya Pradesh government show that there were 431,495 chronic patients in the hospitals meant for gas affected people in 2010.
Satinath Sarangi of the Bhopal Group for Information and Action said the main obstruction in securing justice for the Bhopal survivors is the continuing collusion between the government of India and the two American corporations — Union Carbide and its current owner Dow Chemical Company.