India: Survivors & victims of 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy continue to await justice & fair compensation
On the night of 2–3 December 1984 methyl isocyanate (MIC) spilled out from Union Carbide India Ltd’s (UCIL’s) pesticide factory. Estimates on death toll vary, a government affidavit in 2006 stated that the leak caused 558,125 injuries, including 38,478 temporary partial injuries and approximately 3,900 severely and permanently disabling injuries. Others estimate that 8,000 died within two weeks, and another 8,000 or more have since died from gas-related diseases. The US-based multinational company, Union Carbide Corporation (UCC), which owned the plant through its subsidiary UCIL (and now owned by Dow), did little to help deal with the human tragedy. Dow has made no move to accept liability for the disaster or to pay for a clean-up of the area. It holds that a settlemnet of USD470 million made in 1989 was full and final. But the Indian government says the gross inadequacy of the 1989 settlement has resulted in an irremediable injustice, and it has called for a further settlement in excess of US$1 billion. Additional filings in support of the petition request a further US$8.1 billion. 32 years later, survivors & families of victims continue to await justice and compensation.