Staff Reporter

Bhopal tragedy anniversary observed

Kathikkudam (Thrissur): Writer Sukumar Azhikode on Wednesday criticised Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for not raising the issue of the extradition of Warren Anderson, former chairman and chief executive officer of Union Carbide, during his recent State visit to the U.S.

Following the Bhopal gas tragedy, in which about 5 lakh people were exposed to methyl isocyanate released from the Union Carbide pesticide plant on December 3, 1984, arrest warrants were issued in India against Anderson. According to reports, thousands died within 72 hours of the Bhopal disaster. Many died in the next few years from a host of illnesses.

Addressing a meeting organised by the Nitta Gelatin India Limited Action Council at Kathikkudam to observe the 25th anniversary of the Bhopal tragedy, Prof. Azhikode said that Mr. Manmohan Singh should have empathised with the survivors of the Bhopal tragedy, one of the worst industrial disasters in the world, and discussed Anderson’s extradition with U.S. President Barrack Obama. The Nitta Gelatin India Limited Action Council, which alleged that untreated effluents from the Nitta Gelatin India Limited were being released into the Chalakudy river, said it was observing the Bhopal gas tragedy anniversary to remind administrators that such disasters should not happen again.

According to the Council, the company, in its initial years, used 18 tonnes of animal bone and 18,000 litres of hydrochloric acid every day. It used to draw 30 lakh litres of water every day from the Chalakudy river. The chemical process yields 20 per cent Ossein and 70 per cent waste.

After the company’s expansion, it now uses 130 tonnes of animal bone and 1.30 lakh litres of hydrochloric acid every day. “Untreated effluents released into the water affect the lives of residents of five panchayats,” they alleged.