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NGOs to protest 'meagre' relief for Bhopal victims

Source: PTI
June 23, 2010 16:11 IST
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Terming the Group of Ministers' relief package to the Bhopal gas tragedy victims as a 'betrayal', some non-governmental organisations working for the disaster-affected on Wednesday said they will hold a protest in New Delhi on Thursday.

"The relief package has betrayed the victims of Bhopal gas tragedy and we are going to stage a protest tomorrow in New Delhi," Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Udyog Sangathan convenor Abdul Jabbar told reporters on Wednesday.

The Rs 1,500-crore package is 'too little', he said, adding that the GoM on June 21 had considered just 42,208 victims eligible for the enhanced compensation.

Jabbar said the monetary assistance recommended by the ministers' panel will cover less than 10 per cent of the people exposed to the toxic gases that leaked from the now defunct Union Carbide plant in 1984.

"The GoM has based its decision on a flawed system of damage assessment that was designed to reduce the death and injury (liabilities) caused by the Union Carbide Corporation," he added.

The GoM has made no recommendations regarding review of death claims or registration of toxic gas-related death claims after 1997, when such registration was arbitrarily stopped, Jabbar claimed.

The panel has denied any additional compensation to 5,21,000 (91 per cent) survivors who received a paltry sum of Rs 25,000 each for life-long health complications, he said.

The GoM had failed to recommend action for extraditing the authorised representatives of Union Carbide Corporation, United States and Union Carbide Eastern, Hong Kong, who had escaped trial in the gas leak case, Bhopal Gas Peedit Nirashrit Pension Bhogi Sangharsh Morcha president Balkrishna Namdeo said.

Members of other NGOs -- Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha, Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmcahri, Bhopal Gas Peedit Sangharsh Sahayog Samiti, Bhopal Group for Information and Action and Children Against Dow - Carbide -- also criticised the GoM over the relief package.

They said the amount was too little and covered less than 10 per cent of the victims.

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