With Prime Minister Narendra Modi bringing his four-day state visit to the United States of America to an end, Rachna Dhingra, an activist working for the survivors of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy, called on the Centre on Sunday to explore legal steps to make Union Carbide and Dow Chemicals, the company behind the Bhopal Gas Tragedy incident, pay damages to the progeny of the victims and survivors.
The Bhopal gas tragedy had unfolded in 1984 after a gas leak at a chemical plant run by Union Carbide Corporation (UCC), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Dow Chemicals Company in the USl, and has been documented widely.
The activist, Rachna Dhingra was quoted by ANI as saying that an international study which suggests that men, who were in their mothers' wombs when the Bhopal gas tragedy happened in 1984, were eight times more prone to cancer.
She said that the Bhopal Gas Tragedy Victims' Organisation launched a campaign on Sunday to make Dow Chemicals and Union Carbide pay for the damages to the survivors and would even meet PM Modi and the Chief Justice of India in the national capital to press for their demand.
Dhingra told ANI, "We have launched a campaign today to press for justice for the survivors. We will also be visiting Delhi next week and try to set up meetings with Prime Minister Modi, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and the Union Minister of Chemicals. We have proof that the Bhopal Gas tragedy had far-reaching effects on the next generation of the victims and survivors. The government should seek damages from Union Carbide and Dow Chemicals."
She further said that the onus was on the central government to demand a compensation for the progeny of the victims and survivors, who suffered the debilitating aftereffects of the 1984 gas leak incident.
"The responsibility is on the Union government to demand compensation from Union Carbide and Dow Chemicals for those continuing to suffer the far-reaching effects of the gas tragedy. Not doing so would amount to the betrayal of people who have set their hopes of justice on them," said Dhingra.
A study done by a team from the University of California San Diego (UCSD), United States, found that boys born in and around Bhopal in 1985 have lower education levels and many of them are not able to earn a living due to health issues.
She mentioned that the data from the US study were used for the fourth edition of the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4) of 2015-16 and the 1999 socio-economic survey of the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO).
Quoting the survey, Dhingra also said that the gas tragedy affected people up to a distance of 100 kilometers from the Union Carbide factory site from where the poisonous gas leaked, adding that the leak was not confined to a radius of eight kilometers as had been thought earlier.
She thanked the researchers for the study, published in the June 13 issue of the BMJ Open, an open-access medical journal by a company affiliated to the British Medical Association.
"We thank all the researchers, who have confirmed that the children of victims of the gas tragedy suffered far-reaching effects, which is something we have been talking about for the last 2 decades," added Dhingra.