Bhopal:Organisations working for the welfare of 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy victims on Thursday demanded that the government revise the data on the on disaster-related deaths and injuries before the curative petition for additional compensation is heard by the Supreme Court next month.
Speaking to the media, members of four NGOs that represent the survivors, said the promise of Rs 5 lakh compensation, which was made by both the BJP and Congress, will not get fulfilled until both the state and central governments correct their figures of deaths and illnesses.
“In December last year we requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to direct the ministry of chemicals and fertilisers, the nodal ministry on the Bhopal disaster, to amend the curative petition so as to present figures of death and illnesses in accordance with scientific facts and official records,” said Rashida Bee, president of Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh. Bee said that so far they have not received an acknowledgement from the PMO, let alone a reply to their letter.
Nawab Khan, president of Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha, narrated a similar experience with the letter that was written to the chief secretary of the state in January.
“We listed out documentary evidence that points to deliberate attempts by the state government to mislead the Supreme Court on the matter of deaths and illnesses caused due to exposure to methyl isocyanate gas in December 1984. We requested him to direct the department of Bhopal gas tragedy relief and rehabilitation to provide correct figures from official reports and hospital records. But he has neither acknowledged receiving the letter nor sent a reply so far,” Khan said.
“In January we also wrote to the minister of Bhopal gas tragedy relief and rehabilitation to not only obtain correct figures but to also communicate these revised figures to the ministry of chemicals and fertilisers. We have not heard from him yet. His continued silence on this matter is particularly intriguing because he claims he consistently raised the matter of Rs 5 lakh compensation in the legislative assembly while he was in the Opposition,” said Rachna Dhingra of the Bhopal Group for Information and Action.
Nausheen Khan from Children Against Dow Carbide said it gets “very frustrating to correspond with insensitive officials”. “Personal meetings are no better. We sought an appointment with the chief minister when he met him briefly on February 20 and 27 at his residence and all we have got so far are empty assurances,” Nausheen said.