Forward Bloc joins Bhopal gas tragedy victims' protest

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New Delhi, Apr 3 : The All India Forward Bloc (AIFB) cadres on Thursday joined a protest staged by victims of the Bhopal gas tragedy at the Jantar Mantar here.

The victims who have been seeking adequate compensation and rehabilitation were assured by the AIFB that the issue related to the setting up of a special commission to implement rehabilitation schemes and environmental remediation for the survivors to the gas tragedy affected persons would be raised in parliament.

"We are voicing our concern outside Parliament but we urge our party leaders and also our allies to raise the issue inside Parliament. We want to remind the government to set up the gas relief commission for the Bhopal gas disaster victims that it had promised a couple of years ago," said Dharmendra Kumar Verma, an activist of AIFB.

Over 23 years after the one of the world's worst industrial disasters, victims of the Bhopal gas leak have stepped up their campaign for justice.

At least 50 survivors of the Bhopal gas leak are camping here after a 37-day march from Bhopal.

This was for the second time that the victims were undertaking the grueling 800-kilometer trek from the Bhopal to the national capital.

More than 3,500 people died in the days and weeks after toxic fumes spewed out of a pesticide plan in Bhopal on the night of December 2, 1984. According to an official estimate, around 15,000 people have died since then due to cancer and other diseases.

However, activists put the death toll at 33,000, and say that toxins from thousands of tonnes of chemicals lying in and around the mishap place have seeped into ground water.

Union Carbide in 1984 accepted moral responsibility for the tragedy and established a 100 million dollar charitable trust fund to build a hospital for victims. Later Union Carbide was taken over by Dow Chemicals.

The company also paid 470 million dollars to the Indian Government in 1989 in a settlement reached after a protracted legal battle. The victims, on an average, received 25,000 rupees in case of illness and 100,000 rupees or so in case of a death in the family.

ANI

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