Bhopal Gas Tragedy 34th Anniversary: Will Survivors Finally Receive the Long-Pending Compensation?
A child born with a birth defect in Bhopal (Photo Credits: Getty Images)

The 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy has been one of the worst industrial disasters that killed over five lakh people and even affected the next two generations. A gas leak from the Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) pesticide plant in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh exposed people to deadly methyl isocyanate (MIC) gas. While the toxic substance instantly killed thousands, most who were in their sleep, it left lasting effects on generations to come.

However, survivors of families of those affected have not received full compensations yet. Residents of Bhopal are still fighting for their rights caused by wrongdoings of companies and politicians. After 34 years they may have to face another issue as Dow Chemicals and DuPont companies are going to merge. According to the survivors’ organisations, this will cause non-existence of the Union Carbide Corporation (UCC) as a legal entity, affecting the claim for people's compensation from Dow Chemicals-owned UCC. 34th Anniversary of Bhopal Gas Tragedy: Survivors Still Continue to Fight for Proper Rehabilitation.

They want the central government to prevent the merger and be held responsible for the disaster. In February, five of these organisations wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi about it but the PMO hasn't replied yet.

A Hindustan Times quoted the letter as saying, "It is a matter of fundamental legal principle that criminal liability cannot be transferred from one entity to another, not even to a succeeding one. Therefore, once Union Carbide ceases to exist in its current form, India’s courts will have been stripped of their power to pursue and enforce the grave criminal charges still pending against it."

In 2010, the central government filed a curative petition in the Supreme Court for victims' compensation, which said that around 5,295 people died and 4,944 suffered serious health issues. However, survivors organisations claim that the number of dead is much higher to those numbers. They said that the number of people affected including the next two generations is more than 5,70,000.