ibnlive » India

Feb 25, 2007 at 09:50pm IST

20 yrs on, Bhopal victims seek justice

Bhopal: 20-years on, the gas tragedy survivors in Bhopal are demanding free treatment for their children and a monthly pension of Rs1,000 from the state government.

The survivors argued that exposure to the toxic gases from the Union Carbide plant led to birth defects among children in the area.

The Bhopal tragedy occurred on the night of Dec 2, 1984, when over 40 tonnes of lethal methyl iso-cyanate (MIC) leaked out of the pesticide plant—one of worst industrial accident that killed over 3,000 people and left long-lasting defects on the survivors and their generations. Over 15,000 people affected by exposure have died since then.

TRAGIC PAST: A victim of congenital abnormalities at a press conference in Bhopal.

A trust set up for the welfare of the gas victims has identified over 100 children who were born with congenital abnormalities caused due to exposure to the toxic gases.

The Trust organizations have been on a strike for the past six days demanding medical care, economic and social rehabilitation from the state government for the victims.

One of the activists said, "These children suffer from cerebral palsy, cleft lip, missing palate and disabilities related to vision, hearing and mental disorders. Their numbers could increase if an in-depth survey is conducted."

Medical specialists from Delhi and Bhopal, at a health camp in December 2006, confirmed the presence of several birth defects caused by pesticides, chemicals and heavy metals in the groundwater in and around the abandoned Union Carbide factory.

Studies by the MP Pollution Control Board have also shown that pesticides such as endrin, dieldrin, carbaryl, methoxychlor that can cause birth defects are still present in the groundwater samples collected from the area.

With AP inputs