Tuesday, June 29, 2010

WORLD - A View of Gas Disasters From India

"Bhopal gas victims still searching for justice after 25 years" by Don Clyde, Newsdesk (non-profit news) 6/29/2010


Victims of the Bhopal gas disaster that killed thousands and affected hundreds of thousands more say a new compensation effort by the Indian government is too little and too late.

It is estimated that over 2,000 residents in Bhopal were killed outright in 1984 after a leak of methyl isocyanate from a US-owned Union Carbide factory was released into the air. Aid groups estimate that up to 23,000 died over time due to the leak.

The Indian government on June 7, 2010 sentenced seven senior Indian officials to two years in prison for negligence, but they were released on bail and fined $2,000, according to AOLNews.com.

The soft punishment, 25 years after the accident occurred, incensed victims and activists. They say the government has responded by offering an additional compensation package and new cleanup efforts at the site.

Now, each family who lost a family member will receive about $22,000, while those who were permanently disabled by the accident will receive $4,000, according to the article.

Activist groups said it was not nearly enough. They said the compensation would only go to about 42,000 victims, but they estimate over 500,000 were affected.

“The government is doing this because they want to stop the anger of the people after the court decision, but we cannot accept this,” activist Abdul Jabbar Khan said in the report.
Indian activist groups have also blasted what they consider U.S. hypocrisy in its response to corporate industrial disasters. President Barack Obama forced BP to set aside $20 billion in compensation to those affected by the current Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

They also said it was a double standard that the Obama administration has strongly attacked BP officials, while there was no such action during Bhopal disaster.

Note that Obama was not in office in 1984 when the Indian disaster occurred. Frankly, Obama has enough on his plate dealing with the Gulf Oil Spill.

No comments: