Five organisations fighting for the cause of victims of the Bhopal gas tragedy today urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ensure that US companies Union Carbide and Dow Chemical comply with directions of Indian courts in connection with the 1984 tragedy in which thousands of people had lost their lives.
“On the behalf of the survivors of the world’s worst industrial disaster, we write this letter with the hope that your government will make Union Carbide and Dow Chemical obey the directions of Indian courts.
“We hope that you and your government will be as enthusiastic in making US corporations obey Indian laws, as you are of welcoming them to invest in our country,” Bhopal Group for Information and Action (BGIA) activist Rachna Dhingra said on behalf of the five organisations on the occasion of 30th anniversary of the gas tragedy.
Drawing attention of the PM towards various demands, the organisations highlighted the issue of civil, criminal and environmental liabilities of the two companied.
“They (the MNCs) are the principal authors of the two ongoing disasters: the gas disaster and the disaster caused by environmental contamination due to reckless dumping of hazardous waste,” Dhingra said.
“In the last 30 years, the Government of India has been dragging its feet on taking effective action against these two US corporations with the understanding that justice in Bhopal would jeopardise the investment climate,” the letter said.
“Union Carbide and now Dow Chemical have taken full advantage of this hesitation on the part of the Indian government and they continue to break Indian laws and dare Indian courts.
“As you must be aware, (the then chairman of) Union Carbide is absconding for last 22 years and Dow Chemical has refused to appear in the Bhopal district court disregarding the court’s summons to appear on November 12, 2014,” the letter said referring to Warren Anderson who was prime accused in the case filed in court.
Anderson died as a recluse in US recently.
“The medical care and economic and social rehabilitation of the survivors deserve your special attention and consideration.
“In the last three decades, while provision of funds by successive governments at the Centre has been adequate, in the absence of any monitoring, the expenditures have failed to produce any results as is evident from the reports of monitoring and advisory committees set up by the Supreme Court,” the letter said.
Besides BGIA, organisations like Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationary Karmachari Sangh, Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangarsh Morcha, Bhopal Gas Peedit Nirashrit Pensionbhogi Sangarsh Morcha and Children Against Dow-Carbide are fighting for the rights of the affected people.