33rd Anniversary Of The Bhopal Gas Leak Disaster
Date Written: 2017-12-03
Publisher: Counter Currents
Year Published: 2017
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX22530
The escape of about 40 tonnes of methyl isocyanate (MIC) – a highly toxic chemical – from a storage tank on the premises of the pesticide plant of Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) in Bhopal – the capital of the State of Madhya Pradesh – on the night of 02/03 December 1984 resulted in a horrendous disaster in the city, which was inhabited by about 900,000 persons then.
It was because of this utter insensitivity on the part of the Union of India and the State of Madhya Pradesh that BGPMUS, the Bhopal Group for Information & Action (BGIA) and BGPSSS – as Petitioners Nos.1, 2 and 3 - had filed a Writ Petition (No.50 of 1998) before the Supreme Court on 14.01.1998. The Petitioners pleaded for restarting of disaster-related medical research, monitoring & recording the health status of each gas-victim, improvement in health care facilities, appropriate protocol for treatment of each disaster-related ailment, etc. After 14 years of litigation, and after several interim directions, the Supreme Court finally issued a comprehensive Order on 09.08.2012 acceding to the above prayers of the Petitioners and issued necessary directions to the Union of India, the State of MP and to concerned institutions in this regard. The Petitioners were further directed to pursue the matter before the High Court of Madhya Pradesh (as Writ Petition No.15658 of 2012), a task that BGPMUS & BGPSSS are actively engaged in at present. However, the fact remains that even 63 months after the Supreme Court had passed the said Order dated 09.08.2012, neither the UOI nor the State Government has taken the necessary steps to comply fully with all the directions of the Court. What is most appalling and disheartening is that even 33 years after the disaster, proper health records of the gas-victims are not being maintained and, although claims are being made to the contrary, the fact is that most of the gas-victims do not have a hard copy of his/her complete medical record in his/her possession to date. ICMR (through the Advisory Committee) has also disclosed that over 170,000 gas-victims are regularly seeking treatment at BMHRC since it was founded in the year 2000.