People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


Vol. XXXIV

No. 25

June 20, 2010

GoM on Bhopal Must

Act on these Issues

 

Below we publish the text of the letter written to the union minister for law and justice, Veerappa Moily on June 17, 2010 by representatives of three organisations fighting for bringing justice to the victims of Bhopal Gas tragedy. The letter focusses on matters relating to the Bhopal gas tragedy that require the immediate attention of the government and has been sent in the context of the Group of Ministers constituted on this issue holding its meeting on June 18.

 

ON behalf of the Bhopal Gas Peedith Mahila Udyog Sanghathan, the Bhopal Group for Information and Action, and the Bhopal Gas Peedith Sangharsh Sahayog Samiti, we hereby urge the government of India to attend to the following tasks on a priority:

 

1. That the government of India executes the Letter Rogatory (Letter of Request) to the US  government that was issued by the Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM), Bhopal, on July 06, 1988 without any further delay. The said Letter Rogatory had sought permission for the CBI to carry out investigations at the then UCCs Institute Plant (West Virginia, USA) and collect relevant documents to verify whether or not UCC had adopted duel safety standards while installing safety systems in the MIC unit at UCC's Bhopal plant;

 

2. That the government of India executes the Non-bailable Warrant of Arrest issued by the CJM, Bhopal, on March 27, 1992 in Miscellaneous Judicial Case (MJC) No.91 of 1992;

 

3. That the government of India initiate necessary legal steps to ensure that the Dow Chemical Company, USA (current owner of accused No.10, Union Carbide Corporation, USA), appears on behalf of absconding accused No.10 before the Court of the CJM, Bhopal, in Miscellaneous Judicial Case (MJC) No.91 of 1992;

 

4. That the Union of India (through the CBI) file an appeal against the Order of the CJM, Bhopal, dated June 07, 2010 in R.T. No.8460 of 1996 before the Sessions Court, Bhopal, and to ensure that the hearings are conducted on a day-to-day basis and completed at the earliest;

 

5. That the Union of India (through the CBI) files a Curative Petition in the Supreme Court against the Review Order of the Supreme Court dated March 10, 1997 in Criminal Revision Petition Nos.1672-1675 of 1996.

 

6. That the government of Madhya Pradesh must urge the government of India to take necessary legal measures to ensure that the Dow Chemical Company, USA (current owner of accused No.10, Union Carbide Corporation, USA), cleans up the contaminated soil and ground water in and around the UCIL plant at Bhopal. The government of India should also ensure that the Dow Chemical Company, the present owner of UCC, provides necessary compensation to all those victims affected by drinking contaminated soil and ground water from in and around UCIL, Bhopal, plant site;

 

7. That the government of India intervenes on the side of the organisations representing the gas-victims in the ongoing cases before the Supreme Court relating to:

 

(a) medical care, i.e., Writ Petition No.50 of 1998;

 

(b) matter relating to the functioning of the Bhopal Memorial Hospital and Research Centre (BMHRC, Bhopal) i.e., I.A. Nos.58-59 of 2009 in Civil Appeals Nos.3187-3188 of 1988;

 

(c) award of compensation to the gas victims as per the terms of the Bhopal Settlement and at the value of the rupee vis--vis the US dollar as on February 15, 1989, i.e., SLP Diary No.8755/CC No.5631 of 2010.

8. That the union ministry of chemicals and fertilizers, through the Office of the Welfare Commissioner, reopens registration of death claims of gas victims who died after 1997. After 1997, registration of disaster-related death claims was stopped and as per available estimates there have been more than 10,000 disaster-related deaths after 1997 till date.

9.       That the ministry of chemicals and fertilizers, through the Office of the Welfare Commissioner, review and re-evaluate about 17,000 rejected death claims (i.e. about 80 per cent of the total claims filed until 1997). For example, pursuant to the judgement of the Madhya Pradesh High Court in Smt Birjis Khatoon Vs The Welfare Commissioner (W.P. No. 28570/2003) concerning revival of claims dismissed as being time barred, very few claims were revived and claims granted.

10.     That the government of India immediately set up the Empowered Commission on Bhopal with necessary sub-committees, including representatives of victim-organisations, for the long term relief and rehabilitation of the victims of the Bhopal gas leak disaster, including medical care, medical research, environmental cleanup etc. (ICMR must be directed to immediately restart medical research that was disbanded in 1994. The government must institute a comprehensive inquiry into the functioning of the Bhopal Memorial Hospital Trust.)

 

We do hope you would accede to our above requests and place the same before the newly constituted Group of Ministers (GOM) on the Bhopal Gas Tragedy for their due consideration.