Extremely hazardous wastes lying on Bhopal factory premises

In its curative petition seeking enhancement of compensation to gas tragedy victims, filed in the Supreme Court on Friday, the Centre said that after the trial court in Bhopal pronounced its verdict in the criminal case against the accused on June 7, awarding two-year imprisonment, there was widespread public outcry and concern throughout the country. This led to a comprehensive reconsideration and review at the highest level by the Union of India of all issues of the gas tragedy and its aftermath. On compensation, a thorough review of all issues was conducted. Various extremely hazardous wastes were lying on and around the factory premises. But the impugned judgments and orders of May 4, 1989 and October 3, 1991 “do not take into account the impact of the disaster on the environment” and as “the respondents are liable to pay the costs on account of environmental degradation it is imperative that the settlement figure be reworked keeping in mind the true ground realities i.e. the actual number of fatalities and injuries.”

Number of deaths

The petition said: “The total number of deaths from the tragedy is 5,295, whereas the impugned order proceeds on the basis that there were only about 3,000 deaths. Similarly, the number of cases of minor injuries is 5,27,894, whereas the impugned order proceeded on the basis that there were only 50,000 such cases. Also, the number of cases of temporary disability is 35,455, whereas the impugned order proceeded on the basis that there were only 20,000 such cases.”

The Centre said: “The RBI has reckoned that if the amount was invested at monthly, half yearly or yearly LIBOR [London Interbank Offered Rate], then the investment at yearly LIBOR would yield the highest return. Accordingly, the additional compensation to be claimed should be $ 1241.38 million or Rs. 5,786.07 crore at present value.”

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