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Bhopal Gas Tragedy – 30 Years Later

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Bhopal is famously known as City of Lakes. It is also the Capital of Madhya Pradesh. But when ever some one thinks or hear about Bhopal, the first thing came to his/her mind is Bhopal Gas Leak, one of the World’s worst industrial disasters.

Today (December 3) marks 30th anniversary of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy.

Thirty years back, on this same day, thousands of Indian citizens died because of this gas leak. The roads, temples, streets, mosques, houses, schools were packed with dead bodies. Some were struggling to keep their life and many people died slowly with extreme pain. Most of the people died while sleeping because the gas leaked at night.

It was a gas leak from a pesticide plant called Union Carbide India Limited and nearly 40 tonnes of Methyl Isocyanate Gas had leaked from the factory. The death count increased every day. No God helped them and Government did not know what to do. They feared to go in. Ingrid Eckerman estimated 8,000 died within two weeks and another 8,000 or more have since died from gas-related diseases.

It was not the first gas leak reported from Union Carbide. Gas leaks were there from 1976 on-wards and on many occasions, people died. It clearly shows the negligence of the management and also the government in this regard.

In 1991, the local Bhopal authorities charged Anderson, who had retired in 1986, with manslaughter, a crime that carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. Orders were passed to the Government of India to press for an extradition from the United States. The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal of the decision of the lower federal courts in October 1993, meaning that victims of the Bhopal disaster could not seek damages in a U.S. court.

In June 2010, seven ex-employees, including the former UCIL chairman, were convicted in Bhopal for causing death by negligence and sentenced to two years imprisonment and a fine of about $2,000 each, the maximum punishment allowed by Indian law. An eighth former employee was also convicted, but died before the judgement was passed.

The Chairman and the CEO of Union Carbide, Warren Anderson died at Florida on September 29, 2014.

Governments changed in center as well as in state in these thirty years for every five years. But the sufferings of the people remain unchanged. The voices of the people remain unheard. The justice for the people remain stayed in their dreams.

Today, even after 30 years of this disaster, over 5 lakh people suffer from the effects of the tragedy. Many of the second and third generation children are born with congenital defects, cerebral palsy, and even cancer.

Let’s hope the people will get their justice soon.