After years of inaction, things seem to be moving with lightning speed in Bhopal. The Supreme Court has directed the Reserve Bank of India to transfer the money paid by Union Carbide as compensation to welfare commissioner A G Qureshi for payment to victims after the processing of claims. Almost simultaneously, the Permanent People's Tribunal (PPT), an international panel of experts headquartered in Rome, met in Bhopal to pass a final verdict on the 1984 gas disaster.
The PPT blamed the disaster solely on Union Carbide Corp (UCC) and its Indian subsidiary, Union Carbide (India) Limited, for the design and operation of the Bhopal factory. It indicted the Central and state governments on human rights violations under international law and the Indian constitution. The tribunal recommended the controversial categorisation by the state government, under which 92 per cent of the victims were classified as having suffered temporary or no injuries, be reviewed by an international commission. Forty-four per cent of the claimants have yet to be classified and it is alleged the categorisation was done to fit the low compensation bill paid by UCC. The tribunal also said an international centre for research, information exchange and analytical services on industrial and environmental hazards should be set up at Bhopal.
We are a voice to you; you have been a support to us. Together we build journalism that is independent, credible and fearless. You can further help us by making a donation. This will mean a lot for our ability to bring you news, perspectives and analysis from the ground so that we can make change together.
Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.