Development is important but should not come at the cost of environment and life, Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said on Thursday at an event to mark the 36th anniversary of the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy.
Over 15,000 people were killed after methyl isocyanate leaked on the intervening night of December 2-3, 1984 from the pesticide plant of Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) on the outskirts of the city. More than five lakh people were affected due to the toxic leak.
Attending a condolence meet on Thursday, Chouhan said a memorial would be built to commemorate those who lost their lives in the tragedy.
"A memorial will be built to commemorate the people who lost their lives due to the toxic gas leak from a pesticide plant on December 2-3 night in 1984," Chouhan said at an all-religion meeting.
Chouhan also announced the resumption of pension of Rs 1,000 – called Kalyani -- for women who lost their husbands in the toxic gas leak. The monthly pension to 4,650 women was discontinued last year.
The women widowed in the aftermath of the industrial disaster had been protesting for resumption of the pension. Chironji Bai, 85, said she had lost most of her family in the 1984 tragedy and life dealt another blow when her only son Rajveer died last year.
Chouhan said many women who lost their husbands in the tragedy were suffering from diseases. They need help as they have suffered a lot, he noted.
The memorial would remind people that "no city in the world should become another Bhopal," the chief minister said. "We need to save the world that God has given us, for the next generation," he said.
The state government on Wednesday said the coronavirus pandemic, since its outbreak, has claimed the lives of 102 survivors of the gas tragedy. "Till December 2, COVID-19 has claimed 518 lives in Bhopal district. Of them, 102 are Bhopal gas tragedy survivors. Out of these 102 people, 69 were above 50 years of age, while the remaining 33 were aged below 50," Bhopal Gas Tragedy Relief and Rehabilitation Director Basant Kurre said.