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Bhopal Gas Tragedy                                                                          6 December 2009

 

The twenty-fifth anniversary of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy has come and gone with many voices expressing strident words of solidarity with the scarred survivors and forgotten families of the voiceless victims. Some human rights groups state that the former Union Carbide plant and its surroundings are still contaminated and that the chemical contaminants are the reason why infants are still born with abnormalities and highly susceptible to sickness. Some local politicians have asserted that the sickness is due to poor hygienic conditions in the nearby slums. In either case, the political leadership is accountable and should be held liable. There have been remarkable advances in the quality of healthcare available in India and the surging economy has helped to improve the standard of living for millions of disadvantaged persons in the past twenty-five years. During this same period with the roughly 430 million dollars that Union Carbide paid to the former Indian government, only a portion of that money has been spent on alleviating the misery of some survivors and many still continue to eke out a nightmarish existence. Why are the people still living in proximity to the chemical spill in slums? When will decent accommodation for the slum dwellers be built away from the disaster zone? Where is the rest of the money and why is it not being used to aid the victims? With trillions in Swiss bank accounts, billions being spent on defense weapons, millions of citizens cannot bank on their government to defend their worthless lives. Is this worthy of a government claiming to value the common man?

 

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