Compensation offered is meagre, says CPI(M)

Prakash Karat  

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) on Tuesday punched holes into the recommendations of the Group of Ministers (GoM) on the Bhopal gas leak, stating that the “meagre” compensation was based on a flawed estimation of deaths and injuries and that there was no serious effort to make the Dow Chemical Company pay for the site clean-up.

The party said the Union government should take into account the views of the large number of people affected by the gas leak. It asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to convene a meeting of all political parties along with representatives of the victims' organisations before the Cabinet took a final decision on the recommendations.

Simultaneously, in a letter to Dr. Singh, CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat said that while he appreciated the intention of the Prime Minister to take a speedy decision on matters concerning payment of enhanced compensation, medical treatment and clean-up measures, there were other issues that needed to be considered.

“Since providing justice and adequate compensation for the victims of the tragedy has dragged on for 26 years, it is important that the views of the large number of people affected should be taken into account. Further, there are questions about who is liable for the damages and the recommendation measures to be undertaken,” Mr. Karat said.

The party's Polit Bureau, while welcoming steps such as filing of a curative petition against the Supreme Court's March 1997 order, restart of the unit of the Indian Council of Medical Research and takeover of the Bhopal Memorial Hospital Trust, pointed out problems regarding the recommendations.

“Firstly, the compensation package offered is based on flawed estimation of deaths and injuries, and the amount of compensation offered remains meagre. Secondly, there is no serious effort to make Dow Chemical, which took over Union Carbide, liable for damages and compensation. The entire expenses for the remediation and environmental clean-up at the factory site should be borne by Dow Chemical,” the Polit Bureau said in a statement.

Dow Chemical had invested and set up a number of enterprises in India and was on record that the Government of India had promoted such investments, it noted.

“Surely, the government can take a firm stand on asking Dow Chemical to pay up, failing which the company can be blacklisted and measures taken against it. It is not enough to pursue the long-pending case in a court in Madhya Pradesh,” the statement said.

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Printable version | Nov 29, 2021 11:23:06 PM |

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