Bhopal gas tragedy: Centre wants Rs 7,844 cr relief

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New Delhi:  Twenty six years after India's biggest man-made disaster the government finally filed a plea for compensation.

The Centre has moved Supreme Court asking for over Rs 7800 crore for the Bhopal gas tragedy.

In February, 1989 Supreme Court awarded $470 million as compensation to victims.

The Centre's curative petition now says:

  • Union Carbide, Dow Chemicals, McLeod Russel India and Eveready Industries are responsible for the tragedy and must pay a bigger amount

  • The number of dead and injured in the judgement was wrong, compensation was awarded for 3,000 deaths and 20,000 injured; when the figures are actually 5,000 dead and 50,000 injured

  • So victims should now get over Rs 5,000 crore

  • Madhya Pradesh government should be reimbursed for the Rs1700 crore it has spent on rehabilitation

  • Also, the guilty firms should pay 315 crore rupees for clean-up of the site

The question is why did the government wait so long?

Victims say the government has filed a petition now only because the Supreme Court had asked them to reply to the victims' plea for enhancement of compensation.

Activists in Bhopal say that the Centre's curative petition in Supreme Court is nothing but a face saving device as they have already filed a petition in the Supreme Court in March this year.

"This is our victory. The Centre has now been exposed because all this while they had been telling us that we were wrong," said Abdul Jabber, a petitioner.  

While the curative petition might win the government some brownie points, the real battle will be to actually get those responsible to pay up.




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