Victims' organisations have strongly opposed the proposed demolition of the defunct Union Carbide plant in Bhopal, which killed thousands and maimed lakhs, following the leakage of the deadly Methyl-Iso-Cyanate gas on December 2-3, 1984.
"It is an attempt to weaken the criminal case pending in the sessions court as the defunct plant is important evidence in the case against Union Carbide," Gas Peedit Sangharsh Sahyog Samiti Convenor Sadhna Karnik told PTI.
Karnik was reacting to the opinion expressed by Union Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh on Thursday on the issue.
"Though the state government and NGOs wants to preserve a part from where the gas leaked as a monument, the Centre and the Group of Ministers on Bhopal gas tragedy want to raze the building of the Union Carbide Factory due to mercury contamination," Ramesh said.
The Centre has not taken a final call in the matter, he had said, adding that the decision will be taken in July-August, after the state government and NGOs put forward their points.
"Tank no. 610 and the existing structure at the factory site is evidence against the company. How can they demolish it," Karnik asked.
"There are many ways for making it free from contamination and if the very structure was removed, then creating a permanent memorial will have no meaning," she said, adding that the move will be opposed whenever a meeting in this regard is held.
Gas Peedit Mahila Udyog Sangthan Convenor Abdul Jabbar said, "No doubt the structure existing at the defunct plant has weakened but part of the plant made of cast iron can easily be preserved. If they raze the structure, then how can a memorial be created at the site."
Even at Nazi camps and Hiroshima-Nagasaki in Japan, where nuclear bombs were dropped, remains of the structure were preserved so that people remain aware of the cost humanity paid for that act, he said.
When asked about the mercury contamination, Jabbar said there are ways to detoxify the plant so that it can be preserved.
Jabbar did not rule out the possibility that this may be a ploy on the part of the MNCs to completely erase memories of the world's worst industrial disaster.
The infamous gas tragedy, which hit Bhopal on the intervening nights of December 2-3, 1984, killed over 15,000 people and maimed lakhs besides leaving several others scarred for life.