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Bhopal remembers gas tragedy victims; meetings, rallies held

Press Trust of India  |  Bhopal 

Condolence meetings and protest rallies Monday marked the 34th anniversary of the with survivors pushing for proper rehabilitation, adequate compensation and better medical treatment.

The world's worst industrial disaster, which took place in 1984, left thousands dead.

A large number of survivors marched to the site of the industrial disaster in the state capital to demand proper rehabilitation, adequate compensation and better medical treatment.

They also paid homage to those who died in the tragedy at the memorial built in front of the now-defunct factory.

Residents of the Old City area, which is next to the factory, where the groundwater is said to be contaminated by lying in the factory premises, were also part of the march.

Protesters took out another rally from Bharat Talkies to the Another group of protesters held a condolence meeting at Yadgar-e-Shahjahani ground.

The tragedy took place on the intervening night of December 2-3, 1984 when the highly toxic methyl isocyanate (MIC) gas leaked from the pesticide plant of Ltd (UCIL) here and spread to nearby areas.

Abdul Jabbar, convener of the Gas Peedit Mahila Udyog Sanghathan (BGPMUS), an NGO working for the survivors, said over 15,000 people were killed and five lakh others afflicted by the

Paying tribute to the victims at Yadgar-e-Shahjahani ground, Jabbar said their struggle would continue till the survivors get justice.

"We are demanding Rs 2,500 per month permanent pension for the survivors. The pittance which was disbursed as compensation in most instances was never enough to take care of their daily needs," he said.

Jabbar said it has been a serious challenge for the survivors to find gainful employment and lead a dignified life.

He alleged the toxic waste generated during UCIL's operation from 1969 to 1984 was dumped in and around the plant, leading to severe soil and water contamination.

"A comprehensive study to estimate the extent and gravity of the damage has not been carried out. Instead, the magnitude of the problem has been grossly underestimated by authorities," Jabbar said.

Other groups representing the survivors, like the Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh, Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha, Children Against Dow and the Bhopal Group for Information and Action (BGIA) took out a torch rally Sunday evening.

On Monday morning, these organisations took out another rally to the memorial, where they paid tributes to the victim and also burnt an effigy of (which later merged with US-based Dow Chemicals).

They shouted slogans against Union Carbide and accused the and central governments of neglecting the victims.

Rachna Dhingra of the Bhopal Group for Information and Action said, "The Centre has not taken a single step to stop Union Carbide's disappearance through the trifurcation of Dow-that will begin two months from now.

"Since May 2014, summonses issued repeatedly by the Bhopal District Court against Dow Chemical, US to produce absconding Union Carbide continued to be ignored."

She alleged, "The Centre has failed to get the US government's serve the summonses to Dow Chemical which it is obliged to do under the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty signed between and USA in 1991."

These organisations alleged recent scientific studies show that Bhopal is still reporting deaths and diseases linked to the

Over 80 per cent of the recommendations made by the Supreme Court-appointed monitoring committee for medical rehabilitation of the Bhopal remain on paper, they have claimed.

The organised a separate programme at Barkatullah Bhawan, where B P Singh and religious leaders paid tribute to the victims.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, December 03 2018. 21:50 IST